Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Journal 84 - Gettier and the Knowledge of the Moon

I discovered the moon late in life, and late at night.
The red moon hanging over a swamp at night, hearing the
critters and the creatures singing in your imagination the
dissonant sounds of heir swampy minor songs, rough and
rhythmic in their passionate cries. The moon hangs there
reflected in the water still but for the moccasin slithering
through the water with a tongue tasting the air and the
swamp, the cottonmouth swimming side to side in the
redness of the rising moon, preyful and cocky as it
shifts its weight around in the starry night. Stars shine
through time but the snakes and the rut-less deer and the
other nocturnal creatures don't notice or acknowledge this
ancient miracles of mathematical models; they eat about
their business happily ignorant of any questions of art,
induction, knowledge, warrant, fundamentalism (whether
physics or Protestantism) or justified true belief. Or
justifiable true belief - or Gettier's knowledge of luck -
ignorance is bliss is not a negative insight - regardless
of a dissatisfied Socrates. Three pages of Gettier thus
confounded the philosophical world...of epistemology, and yet
how many happy people smile happily day to day and pool
to pool, knowing full well they are happy and that they
smile, the wet smile on their wet child's face as she
jumps into the pool in a solid cannonball, splashing all
the other kids with true and justified laughter, is a smile
spread across many thousands of people throughout the
blue marshy world - smiles known to be true and justified
despite Gettier's or Plantinga's attempts at falsifying or
affirming this ubiquitous sample of natural human
knowledge. But can we trace the source of this glad
expenditure of commonality, this common human nature -
can we trace it to God our ontological Father or the cold
mixture of chemicals, accidental in their appearance of
predictability and spontaneity. Civil Wars come and
go in word and song but each day we feel the
presence of those who gave their lives for their word
and those who see the Civil Wars as a metaphor for
ourselves - our relationships with each other and our
proclivity for conflict despite our oh-so-knowledgeable Age.


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