This is the golden – the fiftieth – anniversary of Edmund Gettier’s remarkable paper on why knowledge isn’t justified true belief. It seems like an appropriate time, therefore, to evaluate what we have learned – or should have learned – from his elegant counterexamples. Gettier’s paper had a tremendous impact on contemporary epistemology. Measured in terms of impact per page his three-page paper (yes, only three pages) rates among the most influential of twentieth-century essays in philosophy. Prior to Gettier it was more or less assumed (without explicit defence) that knowledge, knowing that some proposition P was true (when it was in fact true), was to be distinguished from mere belief (opinion) that it was true, by one’s justification, evidence, or reasons for believing it true. I could believe – truly believe – that my horse would win the third race without knowing it would win. To know it would win I need more – some reason, evidence or justification (the race is fixed?) that would promote my true belief to the status of knowledge. Gettier produced examples to show that this simple equation of knowledge (K) with justified true belief (JTB) was too simplistic. His examples triggered a widespread search for a more satisfactory account of knowledge. Read more at: Gettier and justified true belief: fifty years on | The Philosophers Magazine.
And see this similar video:
The phone rang through to my workroom. It was one of the school receptionists explaining that there was a visitor downstairs that needed to get on the school’s WiFi network. iPad in hand I trotted on down to the reception to see a young twenty-something sitting on a chair with a MacBook on her knee. I smiled and introduced myself as I sat down beside her. She handed me her MacBook silently and the look on her face said it all. Fix my computer, geek, and hurry up about it. I’ve been mistaken for a technician enough times to recognise the expression. ‘I’ll need to be quick. I’ve got a lesson to teach in 5 minutes,’ I said. ‘You teach?’ ‘That’s my job, I just happen to manage the network team as well.’ She reevaluated her categorisation of me. Rather than being some faceless, keyboard tapping, socially inept, sexually inexperienced network monkey, she now saw me as a colleague. To people like her, technicians are a necessary annoyance. She’d be quite happy to ignore them all, joke about them behind their backs and snigger at them to their faces, but she knows that when she can’t display her PowerPoint on the IWB she’ll need a technician, and so she maintains a facade of politeness around them, while inwardly dismissing them as too geeky to interact with. I looked at the MacBook. I had no experience with OSX at the time. Jobs wasn’t an idiot though, and displayed proudly in the top right hand corner of the screen was a universally recognisable WiFi symbol. It took me seconds to get the device on the network. I handed back the MacBook and the woman opened up Safari. ‘The Internet’s not working,’ she stated with disdain. I’ve heard this sentence so many times now from students and staff, that I have a stock reaction. Normally I pull out my mobile phone and pretend to tap in a few numbers. Holding the handset to my ear I say: ‘Yes, give me the office of the President of the United States…. NO, I WILL NOT HOLD. This is an emergency…. Hello, Mister President, I’m afraid I have some bad news. I’ve just been informed that The Internet is not working.’ Read more at: Kids can’t use computers… and this is why it should worry you – Coding 2 Learn.