I Meant “For the Creation of Dummies”

I was at Barnes and Noble with Miss Lady yesterday, and I glanced at the delightfully titled Philosophy for Dummies in order to have a look at our disciplines PR efforts.  The results were disastrous.  I looked at just two sections: the definition of knowledge, followed by the index.  The definition of knowledge was that knowledge is justified true belief.  The index confirmed that Edmund Gettier makes no appearance in the book.

If I were writing a pop philosophy book (ha!), I don’t think I’d include much Gettierology or the associated Chisholming, but it seems crazy not to mention the whole phenomenon.  It would be as easy as saying “counterexamples have been given to this definition, which most contemporary philosophers find compelling.  There is an ongoing effort to reformulate the definition,” followed by a description of a Gettier case.

Then again, since I assume the book is there to produce a mere simulacrum of learning, it doesn’t really impact its quality whether or not it includes Gettier cases.


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