Are Gettier cases disturbing?

Philosophical Studies 178 (5):1503-1527 (2021)
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We examine a prominent naturalistic line on the method of cases, exemplified by Timothy Williamson and Edouard Machery: MoC is given a fallibilist and non-exceptionalist treatment, accommodating moderate modal skepticism. But Gettier cases are in dispute: Williamson takes them to induce substantive philosophical knowledge; Machery claims that the ambitious use of MoC should be abandoned entirely. We defend an intermediate position. We offer an internal critique of Macherian pessimism about Gettier cases. Most crucially, we argue that Gettier cases needn’t exhibit ‘disturbing characteristics’ that Machery posits to explain why philosophical cases induce dubious judgments. It follows, we show, that Machery’s central argument for the effective abandonment of MoC is undermined. Nevertheless, we engineer a restricted variant of the argument—in harmony with Williamsonian ideology–that survives our critique, potentially limiting philosophy’s scope for establishing especially ambitious modal theses, despite traditional MoC’s utility being partially preserved.

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Author Profiles

Peter Hawke
Lingnan University
Tom Schoonen
University of Amsterdam

Citations of this work

Responses to Herman Cappelen and Jennifer Nado.Edouard Machery - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):329-342.
The Problem of Modally Bad Company.Tom Schoonen - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):639-659.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2003 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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