Via Brian Leiter (see here), I just found out that philosopher Ed Gettier has died. (He died on March 23 of this year; here is a short bio.) Professor Gettier’s greatest contribution to philosophy was this three-page paper, published in 1963, which is titled “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” This was one of the few works that Gettier ever published, but it is by all accounts a landmark in the philosophy of knowledge, i.e. more than just a footnote to Plato. Why? Because Gettier’s paper presents two examples (now called “Gettier cases” in his honor) in which a belief that is justified and true still fails to constitute “knowledge” in the philosophical sense of that term. (In brief, this strange state of affairs arises when the reasons for the belief, while justified, turn out to be false.) For my part, I am not sure what to make of such Gettier cases. A few years ago (I don’t recall exactly when), I had vowed to myself to one day study this topic more deeply, as Gettier cases must be relevant somehow to the law of evidence, but someone (Robert Sanger) already beat me to it! See Professor Sanger’s 2018 paper “Gettier in a Court of Law,” via SSRN.
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