Archive for October 1st, 2012

October 1st, 2012

A General Rule for Gettier Cases

by Max Andrews

The Gettier problem challenges the notion that knowledge is a justified true belief. In short, the problem is about accidental knowledge (if there is such a thing) and having a belief that is true while your reason for justification is false. For example, I leave my keys in my jacket pocket hanging over the back of the kitchen chair. While I’m away, my wife comes around and picks up my jacket to throw it in the wash. Noticing that my keys are in my jacket pocket she thinks I’ll probably be heading out to soon since I didn’t hang up my jacket and put my keys in their respective places. She then places my keys back in my jacket and my jacket back over the chair where they were before. When I return do I have knowledge that my keys are in my jacket? That’s the issue. Do I believe my keys are in my jacket? Yes. Is it true my keys are in my jacket? Yes. Am I justified in believing this? Well… probably not since the reason why the keys are actually there are not the reason why I believe they’re there. Thus, I have no justification for believing this even though I do believe it and it happens to be true.