Fake Barn Country is having a lively discussion on Foley’s work, gypsy lawyer counterexamples as well as other topics in epistemology. Some of the discussion I’ve been part of as the lone defender of my illustrious mentor’s views, and I thought it would be interesting to see here what kind of reception there is to the primary motivator of Dick’s view that Gettier examples can always be explained in terms of the lack of true beliefs. The primary motivator is, I think, Dick’s Swampman case, where a new creature arises from the swamp as a result of a lightning strike, with a strikingly broad and comprehensive range of truths within its expressive powers (I’d call them beliefs, but at this point, I don’t want to have to go into the externalist worry about this): ask Swampman anything you wish, and he’ll produce a correct answer and be able to construct an explanatory answer as well that is both thorough and complete. Moreover, his answering in this fashion is counterfactual-supporting, so can’t be counted as mere luck (though of course it involves luck to have the ability itself). Swampman is thus much more intellectually impressive than any of us, and Foley’s assessment is that we’d have to admit that Swampman knows a whole lot more than any of us.
Any takers? Any critics?