Thermometer case

I am looking for the first discussion of the case in which a subject comes to form a belief about the temperature by arbitrarily selecting one of the thermometers in her bathroom, where the thermometer she chooses is in fact the only reliable thermometer of the bunch (and had she chosen one of the others she would have accepted its –false– reading). Can anyone remind me who first discussed this case, and where? (I have a hazy recollection that it’s Goldman’s case, but I haven’t been able to track it down.) Much appreciated. –Sandy


Comments

Thermometer case — 4 Comments

  1. hey sandy, cool case! i hadn’t seen that one, but i know that duncan has one sort of like it (albeit one used to make a different point). in duncnan’s example, a person consults a broken thermometer that, unbeknownst to him, is being manipulated by a benevolent helper. here’s the case from “Safety-Based Epistemology: Whither Now?”:

    Consider an agent, let’s call him ‘Temp’, who is forming his belief about the temperature in the room by consulting a thermometer on the wall. He has no reason to doubt that this thermometer is working. Unbeknownst to him, however, the thermometer is broken and is fluctuating within a given range. Nevertheless, as it happens this is a great way for Temp to form his beliefs about the temperature of the room because, hidden from view, there is someone in the room next to the thermostat who is observing Temp and ensuring that every time Temp goes to consult the thermometer the reading on the thermometer corresponds to the actual temperature of the room.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *