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General Discussion => Choose Your Own Topic => Topic started by: Language-Gamer on June 03, 2015, 05:42:43 pm

Title: Are Gettier Cases Intuition?
Post by: Language-Gamer on June 03, 2015, 05:42:43 pm
And if they are intuitions, then does that mean we can trust intuition and it is knowledge? And would there be some reason for disallowing other intuitions barring defeaters? And is there some category of intuitions you think have defeaters? What are those defeaters? And if Gettier cases are intuitions and we can't trust intuitions, then what does that mean for epistemology, etc. Talk about these questions and others related to Gettier and intuitions.

Gettier's paper. (http://www.ditext.com/gettier/gettier.html)
Title: Re: Are Gettier Cases Intuition?
Post by: grosso on June 03, 2015, 06:20:44 pm
Do you mean are our judgements on Gettier cases intuitions? The safest position to me is to maintain that they are. This avoids self-defeat and constrains skepticism.

But there are findings in experimental philosophy that really throws some interesting wrenches in the work (if all Gettier-intuitions are equally valid intuitions, anyhow).

For example, poor people are more likely to judge Gettier-cases as knowledge. Steve Stich did an interesting experiment showing that Indians judge Gettier-cases as knowledge at higher rates than Americans.
Title: Re: Are Gettier Cases Intuition?
Post by: hatsoff on June 03, 2015, 06:59:13 pm
I'm not really sure what you are asking.  Gettier argues from certain premises (some implicit, but premises nonetheless) that his examples form instances of JTB which are not knowledge.  Nowhere does he appeal to intuition.

Of course, it seems clear that intuitions do sometimes count as knowledge.  For instance, sometimes when I shoot a basketball, I (correctly) intuit that I will miss, as soon as it leaves my hand.  In those moments, I know that I am going to miss.
Title: Re: Are Gettier Cases Intuition?
Post by: Language-Gamer on June 03, 2015, 07:01:32 pm
The fact that it isn't knowledge.
Title: Re: Are Gettier Cases Intuition?
Post by: hatsoff on June 03, 2015, 08:36:04 pm
The fact that it isn't knowledge.

But he has an argument for that.  Here:

"But it is equally clear that Smith does not know that (e) is true; for (e) is true in virtue of the number of coins in Smith's pocket, while Smith does not know how many coins are in Smith's pocket, and bases his belief in (e) on a count of the coins in Jones's pocket, whom he falsely believes to be the man who will get the job."

This argument is implicit.  He SEEMS to be appealing to the premise

(A)  for all p, if a person only believes p on the basis of an inference from premises which are not all true, then that person does not know that p.

Now, one might challenge Gettier on the basis for (A).  Perhaps (A) is true, but if it is, don't we infer it from considering individual cases?  So, there is a sort of primacy about the fact that Gettier cases aren't knowledge, whereby (A) ought not be used to infer that they are, on pain of a kind of circularity.  Nevertheless, this is all very vague, and whatever you think about the proper course, Gettier, for his part, does not appear to be appealing (directly) to intuition in his paper.

EDIT:  But let's say we aren't convinced of (A).  What might be brought in to replace it?  Let me consider two cases.

Case 1.  One could simply appeal to intuition---we could say that intuition is sufficient to assure us that Gettier cases are not knowledge.  In this case, you want to ask, "does that mean we can trust intuition and it is knowledge?"  Well, if we observe ourselves to trust intuition, then obviously we can trust it.  But is it knowledge?  Not necessarily.  Perhaps, for instance, we trust intuition, and thus are convinced that Gettier cases constitute counter-examples as intended, so that his argument is dialectically successful.  But perhaps it nevertheless fails to produce knowledge that Gettier cases constitute counter-examples.  Or, more controversially, perhaps it does produce knowledge, despite the fact that it is inferred from premises which are believed but not known.  Either way, we will need more before we can conclude that intuition can constitute knowledge.  (And more is given in my first reply.)

Case 2.  One could appeal to the competency of English speakers.  If we take ourselves to be able to competently wield the English language, and if we are able to come to a determination about whether "knowledge" correctly describes Smith's belief, then we should trust our determination.  FYI, this is the tack I prefer.

One might argue that Case 2 is actually just a special sub-case of Case 1.  One might say that competency as English speakers just amounts to a tendency for our linguistic intuitions to be correct, and that coming to a determination is just an intuition.  But although this is plausible, it is not obviously true, and so will require an argument.  And in any case, we have seen that even in Case 1, we need more to show what you want to show.
Title: Re: Are Gettier Cases Intuition?
Post by: Language-Gamer on June 03, 2015, 08:49:05 pm
Right, I'm not claiming he uses the word intuition or whatever in his paper.
Title: Re: Are Gettier Cases Intuition?
Post by: hatsoff on June 03, 2015, 08:58:22 pm
Right, I'm not claiming he uses the word intuition or whatever in his paper.

I know, but you seem to be suspicious that he implicitly appeals to it to directly support his claim that Gettier cases aren't knowledge.  I'm saying, I don't see him doing that.  Instead, he has an argument to show that Gettier cases aren't knowledge, which is what I quoted.