I’ve been idly interested in Gettier cases in unusual locations for a while, at least in part to convince myself that they’re actually important, rather than just marginal philosophical cases. Recently, I realized that there may be some that play important roles in literature. However, the only one that came to mind is something I only very hazily recollect. When I was young, I read several mystery novels by Agatha Christie. In one, I seem to remember that the murderer had killed the victim in a very clever way and concealed the evidence extremely well, but used one more extra twist to protect herself. (I believe it was a female murderer.) She placed a lot of misleading evidence, that pointed to her having killed the person, but in a way different from how the victim actually died. By framing herself, she hoped that the police would at first end up in a Gettier situation, with a justified, true belief that she killed the victim, but that once they saw through the flimsy framing evidence, that would throw them off the trail, so that she could get off without getting caught. (Of course, in the end it didn’t work out for her.)
If anyone recognizes this story, it would be useful to have some more specific details, so that it can be used as an example. And if anyone knows of any other cases that appear in literature, that would also be nice. This one is nice also for illustrating why knowledge is much better than being Gettierized – as Timothy Williamson points out several times in Knowledge and its Limits, someone with knowledge is much less likely to get led astray than someone who merely has true belief, or for whom misleading evidence is available. But I also think it may put some pressure on his conception of misleading evidence being only evidence for a false proposition, rather than Gettierizing evidence for a true one.
Posted by Kenny Easwaran in Uncategorized