Keeping it Small and Simple

2008.04.10

Philosophy interviews on YouTube

For anybody who is interested in philosophy (and who isn’t?) and enjoys listening to philosophical discussions in addition to reading philosophy, I recommend user flame0430’s channel. Here you will find Bryan Magee discussing different philosophical topics with various famous philosophers.

You can watch Magee discuss Wittgenstein with John Searle, Hilary Putnam talking about the philosophy of science, and much more. I especially find the interviews with John Searle really interesting. I hope more of these interviews will be uploaded soon. I am particularly interested in the ones relating to Hume, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Heidegger.

I understand that these interviews were conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s amazing to see how much television has degenerated since. We are currently seeing this happen with the Internet. As soon as commercial interests begin to dominate, cheap entertainment is all you will be served, anything useful is cast aside.

2008.03.14

IEP on the Gettier problem

Filed under: Philosophy — Tags: , , , — Lorenzo E. Danielsson @ 00:24

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy provides an example of the Gettier problem that I have a problem with.

From the article:

Consider an example. Suppose that the clock on campus (which keeps accurate time and is well maintained) stopped working at 11:56pm last night, and has yet to be repaired. On my way to my noon class, exactly twelve hours later, I glance at the clock and form the belief that the time is 11:56. My belief is true, of course, since the time is indeed 11:56. And my belief is justified, as I have no reason to doubt that the clock is working, and I cannot be blamed for basing beliefs about the time on what the clock says. Nonetheless, it seems evident that I do not know that the time is 11:56. After all, if I had walked past the clock a bit earlier or a bit later, I would have ended up with a false belief rather than a true one.

Why do I not know that the time is 11:56? As stated, (1) it is true, (2) I believe it to be true and (3) I am justified in believing that it is true. Getting to class just in time provides me we further evidence that the time was in fact 11:56 when I passed the clock.

If I had passed by a little earlier or a little later I would be early or late for class so my belief would not cohere with facts around me. That would lead to a conflict between my belief and the truth, and I would have to question the justification for my belief.

Let’s suppose that the clock gets repaired without me knowing it. Then I never have a reason to question my belief at the time I glanced at the clock. On the other hand, if I see the clock getting repaired or later get told that it was broken, then, again, the justification for my belief falls apart.

So, as far as I’m concerned, in the example above I have a justified true belief, hence knowledge. As it so happens, it is purely circumstantial that I have a justified true belief. But this particular JTB has been seasoned with that wonderful philosophical spice called “luck” or “fluke”.

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