Ed Gettier: Remembrance, by Justin Dealy
by Justin Dealy (PhD candidate)
In my first year at UMass, I briefly sat in on a seminar on the first-person perspective co-taught by Hilary Kornblith and Lynne Baker. Ed was also sitting in, but I don't recall him ever speaking. I on the other hand was perhaps an overly enthusiastic participant in class discussions. One day I went to the Newman Center to get lunch and came across Ed, on his way out. I said hi and introduced myself. He said he recognized me from the seminar, and then said, "I don't think I really know what the first-person perspective is. But I like listening to you talk about it." Hearing that was such an encouragement. On another occasion, a year or two later, Ed was again sitting in on a class I was taking. Conversation before class turned to his famous paper, as it never had before when I was present. Here is what I recall. I said, "Ed, since we're talking about 'the paper', can I ask you something about it?" Sure, he replied. "I heard a legend that you were under pressure to publish something, and you just pulled it out of a desk drawer full of other unpublished work. Is that true?" He smiled. "It was a filing cabinet," he said. He added, "That's all we ever did at Wayne: try to come up with counterexamples."