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Epistemology and Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’

Epistemology. Theory of knowldge. Ontology : epistemology :: what is there? : how do we know it? Epistemology answer the question: what is knowledge? The traditional conception of knowledge says that one knows something if and only if they have justified true belief. Here is a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ that illustrates some of this:

Alice: And why haven’t you ever been jealous about me?!
Bill: Well, I don’t know Alice, maybe because you’re my wife! Maybe because you’re the mother of my child! And I know that you would never be unfaithful to me.
Alice: You are very very sure of yourself, aren’t you!
Bill: No. I’m sure of you.
Alice: (hysterical laughter)

His belief was: Alice would never be unfaithful to me. Was it true? Alice goes on to tell a story about how she saw a man while they were on vacation, and she says, “and I thought, if he wanted me, even if it was only for one night, I was ready to give up everything: you, Helena (daughter), my whole fucking future; everything.” She then goes on to say that, in fact, nothing happened; she didn’t do anything except entertain the idea. So his belief was true as well (so far, since she hadn’t been unfaithful up to that point). But was it justified? Did Bill really have good reason to believe this? Did he really know that she would never be unfaithful? This was the point of her story: to show him that he wasn’t justified in his knowledge; that he shouldn’t take her devotion to him for granted. Therefore, he wasn’t as sure as he thought he was. He wasn’t wrong either, since nothing happened on the night she was talking about.

And who knows, maybe the event had been exaggerated/romanticized in her mind. And who knows what people will say when they are feeling vengeful. And, yeah, it was pretty brash (to put it very mildly) of Bill to say something like that.

So there is an example unjustified true belief.