Getting Gettier straight: thought experiments, deviant realizations and default interpretations

Synthese 198 (2):1783-1806 (2019)
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It has been pointed out that Gettier case scenarios have deviant realizations and that deviant realizations raise a difficulty for the logical analysis of thought experiments. Grundmann and Horvath have shown that it is possible to rule out deviant realizations by suitably modifying the scenario of a Gettier-style thought experiment. They hypothesize further that the enriched scenario corresponds to the way expert epistemologists implicitly interpret the original one. However, no precise account of this implicit enrichment is offered, which makes the proposal somewhat ad hoc. Drawing on pragmatic theory, I argue that the content of Grundmann and Horvath’s modified scenario corresponds to the default interpretation of the original scenario and that epistemological expertise is not required to access the deviance-proof interpretation. This Default Interpretation proposal offers thus a more general and independently motivated solution to the Problem of Deviant Realizations.

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Pierre Saint-Germier
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique


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