Citation Etiquette

In a paper I’m currently writing I need to note the existence of each of the following, without any direct comment on them:

  • Gettier’s argument that knowledge is not justified true belief
  • Kripke’s argument that there are contingent a priori truths
  • Evans’s distinction between deep and superficial contingency

Given none of them are been discussed in any detail, which of them need a citation? My first guess was no on Gettier, yes on Evans and maybe on Kripke. This suggests 30 years is about when philosophical views pass into common knowledge.

(Shouldn’t I cite everything? No – I wouldn’t dream of citing Einstein if I just noted the existence of relativity theory. The question is when, if ever, philosophical views acquire that status.)

2 Replies to “Citation Etiquette”

  1. I agree with your guesses but not with your explanation.

    The reason you don’t have to cite Gettier, and possibly not Kripke, has to do not with the number of elapsed years, but with the depth of penetration of their ideas into the general philosophical community. I think I’d have given the same guess ten years ago, maybe even more — I suspect it wouldn’t have been necessary to cite Gettier except by name even in 1980.

    On the other hand I suspect that you’d have to cite Evans 20 years from now for that particular distinction. It just isn’t part of the lingua franca the way Gettier’s argument and Kripke’s position are.

    Put it this way: a moderately well educated undergrad philosophy major can be expected to have heard of Gettier counterexamples and may well have read Kripke. The same cannot be said for Evans — I mean in no way to deny his importance in saying this.

  2. I agree with Kremer except that I do mean to deny Evans’ importance (given the overall context of this discussion).

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