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When Is True Belief Knowledge?$
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Richard Foley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154725

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154725.001.0001

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The Beetle in the Box

The Beetle in the Box

(p.41) Chapter 7 The Beetle in the Box
When Is True Belief Knowledge?

Richard Foley

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at how people know many things without having observed their truth firsthand. To illustrate this and related points, the chapter tells the story of the beetle in the box. An individual S comes into a room and sees a small, sealed box on the table. She looks at the outside of the box from all angles but cannot see into it. There is nothing unusual about its weight. Nor does it make a special sound when shaken. Relative to what she is able to observe, there might be nothing at all inside, or there might be a coin wrapped in cloth so as to make no noise, or perhaps a marble or a key. S, however, believes that there is a beetle in the box, and she is correct. There is in fact a beetle inside, but she does not know this to be the case.

Keywords:   truth, knowledge, tests, counterfactual truths, intuitions

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