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The Gettier Problem

Philosophy is a subject that intimidates me (and many others), due to its tendency to use words that many don’t fully understand and many concepts requiring the reading of vast volumes to completely grasp. The Gettier Problem, however, is a shockingly accessible epistemological (the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge) problem that is considered, to quote Wikipedia “a landmark philosophical problem”.

The three elements of justified true belief

Scenario 1

I’m going to adapt the movie example above throughout, but I’d encourage anyone to read the original paper to see the original scenarios.

Gettier’s “Scenario 1”
  1. I believe it’s true: I believe that my brother, who has green hair, is watching the movie, and hence I believe that the person watching the movie has green hair
  2. I have evidence that its true: My brother, who has green hair, told me he’s going to watch a movie. ✅
  • My belief is true by virtue of there being a green-haired intruder watching the movie — something I don’t know

Scenario 2

This scenario is somewhat more nuanced than the previous one, so take a moment to work it through in your head.

Gettier’s “Scenario 2”
  1. I believe it’s true: I believe my brother is watching the movie, hence, I believe that the Either OR statement is true. ✅
  2. I have evidence that it’s true: My brother told me he’s going to watch a movie, and I heard the movie playing, therefore I have evidence that the Either OR expression is true. ✅

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Wyatt Sell

Wyatt Sell

I like programming and using technology to make awesome stuff