‘Gettier case’: Philosophical puzzle illustrates challenge of understanding what is true


Philosopher Edmund Gettier devised a thought experiment that has become known as a “Gettier case.” It shows that something’s “off” about the way we understand knowledge.

Just believing something that happens to be true doesn’t necessarily make it knowledge.

[Try] this version, from the University of Birmingham philosopher Scott Sturgeon:

Suppose I burgle your house, find two bottles of Newcastle Brown in the kitchen, drink and replace them. You remember purchasing the ale and come to believe there will be two bottles waiting for you at home. Your belief is justified and true, but you do not know what’s going on.

[You] believe two are there because you put them there. You’re right that you’ve got beer in the fridge, and you’ve got good reason to believe they’d be there once you get back—but doesn’t your true and justified belief that you have two Newcastles waiting for you seem lucky somehow?

Pritchard invites us to think of a cognitive success, like a true belief, in the same way that we think of success in, say, archery. Knowledge is an achievement just like hitting the bull’s-eye all on your own is an achievement: You did it and it wasn’t just luck.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: This Simple Philosophical Puzzle Shows How Difficult It Is to Know Something