Moore suffered great personal turmoil because of his inability to see religious belief as rational. Regan recounts Moore’s pilgrimage from the melancholy of religious unbelief to the sense of meaningfulness gained through belief in the intrinsic value of beauty and friendship. Art and morality provide the consolation of religion without its existential commitments.
Regan’s thesis is that an adequate understanding of Moore’s ethical philosophy can be achieved only when seen against the backdrop of Bloomsburythe avant-garde group of free spirits (among whom were Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, and John Maynard Keynes) that met weekly in London between 1905 and 1920. When seen in that light, Regan argues, Moore’s thought as expressed in Principia Ethica is a “radical defense of the freedom of the individual to choose,” rather than a defense of conformity to the status quo, as is usually assumed.