Edmund Gettier

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Edmund L. Gettier III (born 1927, Baltimore, Maryland) is an American philosopher best known for the so-called Gettier problem in epistemology which he outlined in a 1963 paper in Analysis titled "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?". Gettier is Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

He was educated at Cornell University by Norman Malcolm and Max Black. He taught at Wayne State University in Detroit alongside Alvin Plantinga and Keith Lehrer.

The Gettier problem is a response to the standard account of knowledge as being justified true belief. This account originated in Plato's Theaetetus and the Meno; Gettier cited Roderick Chisholm's version of justified true belief in Perceiving: A Philosophical Study and A. J. Ayer's account from The Problem of Knowledge. Gettier's paper describes a class of counter-examples to the justified true belief account, where one has a justified belief that p is true, and p happens to be true, but the justification for p doesn't bear any relationship to the truth of the matter. For instance, if you saw a man driving a blue car down the street, you might infer that he owns a blue car. It turns out that the car he is driving is stolen or borrowed, but at home the man does in fact have a blue car. The belief is true, but the justification for it points to the wrong thing being true.