Gettier’s Pint

Edmund and Bertrand had arranged to meet for a few beers after work at the “Philosopher’s Head”. Both were avid drinkers of Fullers London Pride. Edmund was 99% sure he’d had a pint of London Pride in the “Philosopher’s Head” but just to make sure he looked it up on the internet and sure enough it was listed as a Fullers pub.

Bertrand, who worked near the pub, decided to check it out himself in his lunch hour. He saw beer pumps labelled “Fullers London Pride”, but he also saw a sign over the bar saying “Under New Management. We are now a Free house”.

The pub sold London Pride, as Edmund believed. But was he right to say he knew, i.e. did his belief count as knowledge [justified true belief]?

Edmund believed the pub sold London Pride;
He had evidence that this was so (his belief was justified);
It was true that the pub sold London Pride.

But as the pub was now a free house, it could have been selling practically anything.

Regardless of the epistemological implications of all this, the moral of the story is obvious: IT’S ALL TOO EASY TO BE COMPLETELY STITCHED UP BY AN OUT-OF-DATE WEBSITE!

© Christopher Seddon 2009

Author: prehistorian

Prehistorian & author