An Epistemological Nightmare

On the TV show this Sunday, I mentioned a short story to a caller just before the closing credits. Because one person has already emailed me to ask where to find this story, I’m linking to it here:

An Epistemological Nightmare by Raymond Smullyan.

The reason I brought up the story at the time was because the caller asked something about (I think) whether you can know something, but not know that you know it. I always found this story kind of funny. I admit that I didn’t actually know that the story was online when I recommended it, but I was making a reasonable guess that it would be. I just didn’t get the name right.


  1. says

    Thank you! I really enjoyed it.In fact I am going around trying to convince people that all they have is believe (in other words: that there are no objective proofs of which we can think) for almost 1 and 1/2 year now.Actually this “not beliving in things” in the sense of “not saying that something is true” is the basis of science. In science we just have “working models”. Theories which can be obsolete as soon as we find more compelling evidence.The statement by the doctor about the epistemologists cure describes presentive what model-agnosticism (which I promote) is about.I wrote a text explaining this whole reasoning in more detail. It can be found on But the english translation is not yet finished.