Thinking about Knowledge. Epistemology 50 Years after Gettier’s paper
It is a pleasure to announce a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Edmund Gettier’s famous article “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”.
The conference will take place at Swarthmore College on Saturday, April 13, 2013.
Our speakers will be:
Fred Dretske (Duke University)
Alvin Goldman (Rutgers)
John Greco (Saint Louis University)
Very few philosophy articles have had an impact on their field comparable to the one Edmund Gettier’s “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” had on epistemology. Even though Gettier was not the first to pose counterexamples to the traditional view of knowledge as justified true belief, his paper triggered a completely unprecedented and intensive discussion about the correct definition of knowledge (the correct answer to the “Gettier problem”). New theories of knowledge – whether designed to solve the “Gettier problem” or not – began to develop, such as defeasibility theories and externalist theories; modal views of knowledge developed at least partly because of the free space Gettier’s paper had opened up. These new views also led to new responses to old problems, like the problem of skepticism. Apart from that, Gettier’s paper helped trigger the development of new interests and topics in the field: The rise of social epistemology (after having been pretty much neglected since Thomas Reid’s times) is just one example. Furthermore, as the immediate post-Gettier debate became more and more intricate and complicated, skepticism grew not only about the prospect of finding a correct definition of “knowledge”, but also about a certain kind of conceptual analysis in epistemology and in philosophy more generally. It is no coincidence that Gettier-cases constitute one of the main types of cases dealt with by recent experimental philosophy. One struggles to think of any development in epistemology in the past 50 years that has not been, directly or indirectly, triggered by Gettier’s paper.
The 50th anniversary of the publication of Gettier’s paper is thus an excellent occasion to consider where we are 50 years later and to take a look forward. The main aim of this conference is not so much to discuss the “Gettier problem” and potential “solutions” to it; rather, the idea of the conference is to honor Gettier’s contribution by exploring new directions in epistemology. Among the questions to be considered are the following: Where are we now in epistemology and where should we go? But also: What important questions did Gettier bring up and how has Gettier’s paper changed epistemology? What was good about the changes it triggered and what, perhaps, not so good? What’s next?
More details soon.
Contact: Peter Baumann