Edmund Gettier is Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This short piece, published in 1963, seemed to many decisively to refute an otherwise attractive analysis of knowledge. It stimulated a renewed effort, still ongoing, to clarify exactly what knowledge comprises.
To what extent should we trust our natural instincts about knowledge? The question has special urgency for epistemologists who want to draw evidential support for their theories from certain intuitive epistemic assessments while discounting others as misleading. This paper focuses on the viability of endorsing the legitimacy of Gettier intuitions while resisting the intuitive pull of skepticism – a combination of moves that most mainstream epistemologists find appealing. Awkwardly enough, the “good” Gettier intuitions and the “bad” skeptical intuitions (...) seem to be equally strong. This chapter argues that it is not a coincidence that these two types of intuition register with equal force: they are generated by a common mechanism. However, the input to this mechanism is interestingly different in the two types of case, and different in a way that can support the mainstream view that Gettier cases tell us something about knowledge where skeptical intuitions involve systematic error. (shrink)
Gettier problems or cases are named in honor of the American philosopher Edmund Gettier, who discovered them in 1963. They function as challenges to the philosophical tradition of defining knowledge of a proposition as justified true belief in that proposition. The problems are actual or possible situations in which someone has a belief that is both true and well supported by evidence, yet which — according to almost all epistemologists — fails to be knowledge. Gettier’s original article (...) had a dramatic impact, as epistemologists began trying to ascertain afresh what knowledge is, with almost all agreeing that Gettier had refuted the traditional definition of knowledge. They have made many attempts to repair or replace that traditional definition of knowledge, resulting in several new conceptions of knowledge and of justificatory support. In this respect, Gettier sparked a period of pronounced epistemological energy and innovation — all with a single two-and-a-half page article. There is no consensus, however, that any one of the attempts to solve the Gettier challenge has succeeded in fully defining what it is to have knowledge of a truth or fact. So, the force of that challenge continues to be felt in various ways, and to various extents, within epistemology. Sometimes, the challenge is ignored in frustration at the existence of so many possibly failed efforts to solve it. Often, the assumption is made that somehow it can — and will, one of these days — be solved. Usually, it is agreed to show something about knowledge, even if not all epistemologists concur as to exactly what it shows. (shrink)
The Gettier problem has stymied epistemologists. But whether or not this problem is resolvable, we still must face an important question: Why does the Gettier problem arise in the first place? So far, philosophers have seen it as either a problem peculiar to the concept of knowledge, or else an instance of a general problem about conceptual analysis. But I would like to steer a middle course. I argue that the Gettier problem arises because knowledge is a (...) thick concept, and a Gettier-like problem is just what we should expect from attempts at analyzing a thick concept. Section 2 is devoted to establishing the controversial claim that knowledge is thick, and, in Sect. 3, I show that there is a general problem for analyzing thick concepts of which the Gettier problem is a special instance. I do not take a stand on whether the Gettier problem, or its general counterpart, is resolvable. My primary aim is to bring these problems into better focus. (shrink)
For centuries tradition had it that knowledge is justified true belief. Then Edmund Gettier produced cases that refute that traditional view – or so most philosophers think. I disagree. The widespread intuition lying behind the so-called ‘Gettier Cases’ is that there is epistemic bad luck (we can unluckily fail to know), but no epistemic good luck (we cannot luckily know). I reject this puritanical intuition. I also question the externalist or reliabilist views of knowledge and/or justification that the (...)Gettier Cases have spawned. (shrink)
lnfallibilism is the view that a belief cannot be at once warranted and false. In this essay we assess three nonpartisan arguments for infallibilism, arguments that do not depend on a prior commitment to some substantive theory of warrant. Three premises, one from each argument, are most significant: (1) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then the Geltier Problem cannot be solved; (2) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then its warrant can (...) be transferred to an accidentally true belief; (3) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then it can be warranted and accidentally true. We argue that each of these is either false or no more plausible than its denial. Along the way, we offer a solution to the Gettier Problem that is compatible with fallibilism. (shrink)
Professional philosophers say it’s obvious that a Gettier subject does not know. But experimental philosophers and psychologists have argued that laypeople and non-Westerners view Gettier subjects very differently, based on experiments where they tend to ascribe knowledge to Gettier subjects. I argue that when effectively probed, laypeople and non-Westerners unambiguously agree that Gettier subjects do not know.
This article argues that justified true beliefs in Gettier cases often are not true due to luck. I offer two ‘unlucky’ Gettier cases, and it's easy enough to generate more. Hence even attaching a broad ‘anti-luck’ codicil to the tripartite account of knowledge leaves the Gettier problem intact. Also, two related questions are addressed. First, if epistemic luck isn't distinctive of Gettier cases, what is? Second, what do Gettier cases reveal about knowledge?
If the history of the Gettier Problem has taught us anything, it is to be skeptical regarding purported solutions. Nevertheless, in “Manifest Failure: The Gettier Problem Solved” (2011), that is precisely what John Turri offers us. For nearly fifty years, epistemologists have been chasing a solution for the Gettier Problem but with little to no success. If Turri is right, if he has actually solved the Gettier Problem, then he has done something that is absolutely groundbreaking (...) and really quite remarkable. Regrettably, however, while Turri’s account is both intuitive and elegant—improving upon many seminal projects within contemporary epistemology—I argue in this paper that any success against Gettier counterexamples it affords is merely fleeting. Straightforwardly, this is done in two sections. In §1, I briefly sketch Turri’s proposed solution to the Gettier Problem. Then, in §2, I level a counterexample against it. Unfortunately for Turri and his solution, in this paper we will see history repeat itself. (shrink)
The Gettier Problem (henceforth GP) is a milestone in contemporary epistemology. Half a century after the philosophical earthquake caused by the well-known Gettier article (1963), solutions continue to appear and the discussion resurfaces. Because we, like many, choose to adopt an optimistic stance towards the possibility of finding a plausible answer to the GP, in this paper we present an unconventional solution to solve it. Crucially, we argue that the only plausible and non-falsifiable definition of the propositional knowledge (...) is the one given by an “open” formula that contains a placeholder or a “variable” – on the third necessary condition – which takes a value according to which, depending on the circumstances, is necessary and sufficient for epistemic success. (shrink)
This paper challenges (in a shorter version than the also listed 2002 LSE discussion paper) the first Gettier counterexample to the tripartite account of knowledge. Noting that 'the man who will get the job' is a description and invoking Donnellan's distinction between their 'referential' and 'attributive' uses, I argue that Smith does not actually believe that the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket. Smith's ignorance about who will get the job shows that the (...) belief cannot be understood referentially, his ignorance of the coins in his pocket shows that it cannot be understood attributively. An explanation for why Smith appeared to have justified true belief is given by distinguishing between 'belief' and 'belief in truth'. Smith believes the sentence 'the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket' to be true (he mistakenly believes that Jones will get the job, of whom he knows that he has ten coins in his pocket) (hence his 'belief'), the sentence is true (hence 'truth'), and he has sufficient reason to assent to it (hence his 'justification'). But he does not believe the proposition expressed. Hence he does not know it either. (shrink)
Viele Philosophen Glauben, daß die sogenannte „klassische” Definition des Wissens: -/- (W)Das Subjekt S weiß, daß p =Df. (i) S glaubt (ist überzeugt), daß p; (ii) S hat eine Begründung (eine epistemische Rechtferigung) für seine Überzeugung, daß p; und (iii) es ist der Fall, daß p. -/- durch das berühmte Gegenbeispiel Gettiers endgültig demoliert wurde: Gettier hat die folgende Situation konstruiert: -/- (G)(1) Das Subjekt S hat eine gute induktive Begründung für die Überzeugung, daß p. (2) S hat die (...) Überzeugung vom Inhalt p oder q. (3) S hat demgemäß die Begründung für seine Überzeugung, daß p oder q; und zwar kraft der Begründung, die es für die Überzeugung, daß p, hat. (4) Was q betrifft, so hat S gar keine epistemischen Gründe (weder für noch gegen q). (5) p erweist sich als falsch, q ist dagegen (dank eines Zufalls) wahr. -/- Wir argumentieren, daß die philosophische Bedeutung des Rätsels von Gettier in der Regel stark überschätzt wird. Das Subjekt S hat eine gute Begründung für die Überzeugung, daß p. Trotzdem ist der Inhalt seiner Überzeugung nicht einfach p, sondern stattdessen p oder q. Eine solche Über¬zeu¬gung wäre verständlich, wenn S für q noch eine unabhängige Begründung hätte. Kraft der Voraussetzung hat es jedoch keine solche Begründung. Das Gettiersche Subjekt hat in diesem Sinne gratis abgeschwächte Überzeugungen. Wir argumentieren, daß solche Überzeugungen nicht nur aus den psychologischen, sondern auch aus gewissen im weiten Sinne logischen Gründen ausgeschloßen werden soll, und versuchen die Regeln zu formulieren, die solche gratis abgeschwächten Überzeugungen ausschließen. (shrink)
Nós tentamos mostrar neste ensaio que as propostas anulabilistas de Peter Klein e de Marshall Swain não resolvem o problema de Gettier. Klein postula que, para qualquer contra-exemplo de tipo-Gettier, há uma proposição verdadeira que, ao ser conjugada com a evidência e de S, anula de modo legítimo a justificação de p para S. Swain postula que, para qualquer contra-exemplo de tipo-Gettier, há uma proposição verdadeira que, ao ser conjugada com o conjunto de razões R de S, (...) anula de modo ulterior a justificação de S para crer que p. Para provarmos que essas propostas não resolvem aquele problema, apresentamos dois contra-exemplos de tipo-Gettier para os quais não há anuladores legítimos da justificação de p por e para S, nem anuladores da justificação da crença de S de que p por R que não sejam ulteriormente anulados. Após a discussão em torno dos anulabilismos de Klein e de Swain, tentamos mostrar que as conclusões nela obtidas podem ser corretamente aplicadas a qualquer proposta anulabilista de conhecimento. DOI:10.5007/1808-1711.2010v14n2p175. (shrink)
In the current discussion on epistemic value, several philosophers argue that understanding enjoys higher epistemological significance and epistemic value than knowledge—the epistemic state the epistemological tradition has been preoccupied with. By noting a tension between the necessary conditions for understanding in the perhaps most prominent of these philosophers, Jonathan Kvanvig, this paper disputes the higher epistemological relevance of understanding. At the end, on the basis of the results of the previous sections, some alternative comparative contrasts between knowledge and understanding are (...) briefly explored, including one in which an analogue to the KK-principle for knowledge, the “UU-principle”, does not hold for a different reason than that for which the former principle fails. (shrink)
David Lewis maintained that epistemological contextualism (on which the truth-conditions for utterances of “S knows p” change in different contexts depending on the salient “alternative possibilities”) could solve the problem of skepticism as well as the Gettier problem. Contextualist approaches to skepticism have become commonplace, if not orthodox, in epistemology. But not so for contextualist approaches to the Gettier problem: the standard approach to this has been to add an “anti-luck” condition to the analysis of knowledge.
The contextualist epistemological theories proposed by David Lewis and othersoffer a view of knowledge which awards a central role to the contexts ofknowledge attributions. Such contexts are held to determine how strong anepistemic position must be in order to count as knowledge. Lewis has suggestedthat contextualism so construed can be used both to ward off the skeptic and tosolve the Gettier problem. A person knows P, he says, just in case her evidenceeliminates every possibility that not-P, where the domain (...) of `every' is determinedby the context. Lewis provides a list of rules that can tell us, for a given context,which not-P possibilities must be eliminated and which can properly be ignored.But his account entails, counterintuitively, that knowledge can truly be attributedeven to a person in a Gettier situation provided only that the attributor is ignorantof the fact that the person is gettiered. It has been criticized on those grounds byS. Cohen. In this paper I shall argue that most other forms of contextualism sufferthe same fate as Lewis's. The allies of contextualism haven't yet shown us whethercontextualism can succeed in maintaining a notion of ordinary knowledge whileresisting the absurdity that knowledge can be a matter of sheer good luck. At theend of the paper I shall suggest a possible solution to the problem by showing howCohen's line of criticism leads to a modified conception of what sort of justificationa belief must have to count as knowledge in ordinary contexts. (shrink)
This paper provides a principled and elegant solution to the Gettier problem. The key move is to draw a general metaphysical distinction and conscript it for epistemological purposes. Section 1 introduces the Gettier problem. Sections 2–5 discuss instructively wrong or incomplete previous proposals. Section 6 presents my solution and explains its virtues. Section 7 answers the most common objection.
According to the deontological view on justification, being justified in believing some proposition is a matter of having done one's epistemic duty with respect to that proposition. The present paper argues that, given a proper articulation of the deontological view, it is defensible that knowledge is justified true belief, pace virtually all epistemologists since Gettier. One important claim to be argued for is that once it is appreciated that it depends on contextual factors whether a person has done her (...) epistemic duty with respect to a given proposition, many so-called Gettier cases, which are supposed to be cases of justified true belief that are not cases of knowledge, will be seen to be not really cases of justified belief after all. A second important claim is that the remaining alleged Gettier cases can be qualified as cases of knowledge. This requires that we countenance a notion of epistemic luck, but the requisite kind of luck is of a quite benign nature. (shrink)
The tripartite account of propositional, fallibilist knowledge that p as justified true belief can become adequate only if it can solve the Gettier Problem. However, the latter can be solved only if the problem of a successful coordination of the resources (at least truth and justification) necessary and sufficient to deliver propositional, fallibilist knowledge that p can be solved. In this paper, the coordination problem is proved to be insolvable by showing that it is equivalent to the ''''coordinated attack'''' (...) problem, which is demonstrably insolvable in epistemic logic. It follows that the tripartite account is not merely inadequate as it stands, as proved by Gettier-type counterexamples, but demonstrably irreparable in principle, so that efforts to improve it can never succeed. (shrink)
: In this paper I add credence to Linda Zagzebski's (1994) diagnosis of Gettier problems (and the current trend to abandon the standard analysis) by analyzing the nature of luck. It is widely accepted that the lesson to be learned from Gettier problems is that knowledge is incompatible with luck or at least a certain species thereof. As such, understanding the nature of luck is central to understanding the Gettier problem. Thanks by and large to Duncan Pritchard's (...) seminal work, Epistemic Luck, a great deal of literature has been developed recently concerning the nature of luck and anti-luck epistemology. The literature, however, has yet to explore the very intuitive idea that luck comes in degrees. I propose that once luck is recognized to admit degrees even the slightest non-zero degree (of the relevant sort) precludes knowledge. Connecting this to Zagzebski's thesis, I propose that a given theory of warrant must guarantee truth in order to avoid Gettier counterexamples (or subsequently deny that warrant bears any relationship to the truth whatsoever), simply because a sufficient standard analysis of knowledge cannot allow for knowledge that is even marginally lucky. (shrink)
How should we react to the contention that there is empirical evidence showing that many judge Gettier cases to be cases of knowledge, contrary to the verdict of most analytical philosophers about these cases? I argue that there is no single answer to this question. The discussion is set inside a view about how to view the role and significance of intuitive responses to some of philosophy's famous thought experiments. One take-home message is that experimental philosophy and conceptual analysis (...) are not as far apart as is often thought. (shrink)
Usually, people think that Gettier counter-examples challenged the traditional tripartite definition of knowledge and fundamentally changed the characteristic of the contemporary epistemology. This paper argues that regard for Gettier counter-examples is exaggerated, because (i) the JTB definition is neither an important nor a comprehensive one that covers all knowledge. Moreover, the significance of Gettier counter-examples is limited. (ii) The source of Gettier counter-examples lies in one arbitrary judgment, two mix-ups, three false assumptions, and a misunderstanding about (...) the JTB definition. (shrink)
Knowledge of the basic rules of logic is often thought to be distinctive, for it seems to be a case of non-inferential a priori knowledge. Many philosophers take its source to be different from those of other types of knowledge, such as knowledge of empirical facts. The most prominent account of knowledge of the basic rules of logic takes this source to be the understanding of logical expressions or concepts. On this account, what explains why such knowledge is distinctive is (...) that it is grounded in semantic or conceptual understanding. However, I show that this cannot be the correct account of knowledge of the basic rules of logic, because it is open to Gettier-style counter-examples. (shrink)
Previous research in experimental philosophy has suggested that moral judgments can influence the ordinary application of a number of different concepts, including attributions of knowledge. But should epistemologists care? The present set of studies demonstrate that this basic effect can be extended to overturn intuitions in some of the most theoretically central experiments in contemporary epistemology: Gettier cases. Furthermore, experiment three shows that this effect is unlikely mediated by a simple desire to blame, suggesting that a correct psychological account (...) of ordinary knowledge attribution may include moral judgment. (shrink)
Examples cited by Feldman, Lehrer and others of true beliefs that are justified, but not by false lemmas, turn out under scrutiny to involve false lemmas after all. In each case there is an EG inference whose conclusion is unwarranted unless its base instance is false. A shift to non-deductive justification does not avert the difficulty. The relation of this result to non-inferential Gettier cases is suggested.
Analytic epistemologists reach regularly for favoured ‘intuitions’. And the anti-luck intuition (as Duncan Pritchard calls it) is possibly one of the best-entrenched epistemological intuitions at present, seemingly guiding standard reactions to Gettier situations. But why is that intuition true (if it is)? This paper argues that the anti-luck intuition (like the ability intuition) rests upon something even more deeply explanatory – the normality intuition. And to recognise this is to understand better what most epistemologists want from a concept of (...) knowledge. (It also helps to explain recent epistemological reactions to lottery cases.)1. (shrink)
Taking his conceptual cue from Ernest Sosa, John Turri has offered a putative conceptual solution to the Gettier problem: Knowledge is cognitively adept belief, and no Gettiered belief is cognitively adept. At the core of such adeptness is a relation of manifestation. Yet to require that relation within knowing is to reach for what amounts to an infallibilist conception of knowledge. And this clashes with the spirit behind the fallibilism articulated by Gettier when stating his challenge. So, Turri’s (...) form of response is irrelevant to that challenge, which was intended to pose a conceptual problem within fallibilist conceptions of knowledge. (And that failure on Turri’s part needs to be highlighted to remind epistemologists of the need to assess Gettier cases by a fallibilist standard. Although that need was described earlier by Robert Almeder, apparently his advice is being overlooked. This paper develops it anew, in a more general form.). (shrink)
On the “Russellian” solution to the Gettier problem, every Gettier case involves the implicit or explicit use of a false premise on the part of the subject. We distinguish between two senses of “justification” ---“legitimation” and “justification proper.” The former does not require true premises, but the latter does. We then argue that in Gettier cases the subject possesses “legitimation” but not “justification proper,” and we respond to many attempted counterexamples, including several variants of the Nogot scenario, (...) a case involving induction, and the case of the sight-seer and the barn. Finally, we show that, given our analysis, any challenge to a belief’s justification on the grounds that it might be “Gettierized” only requires an argument that one’s premises are themselves likely to be true, moving backwards along the object-Ievel regress. Hence, a move to externalism is neither useful nor necessary in response to the Gettier problem. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to show that the truthmaker solution to the Gettier counter-examples can solve the Russell case of the stopped clock (other standard cases have already been analysed). The solution amounts to this: the truthmaker for the claim that it is, say, 2.00 pm, is a combination of natural and non-natural determinants. The latter are created by stipulation, but having been so made make it is a perfectly objective matter as to whether it is 2.00 (...) o'clock. To know that it is 2.00 pm is to have the evidence for one's belief evidence of the very state of affairs that make the belief true. Thus, in the Russell case one does not have knowledge, in accord with intuition. (shrink)
How can a person avoid being Gettiered? This paper provides the first answer to that question that is both fallibilist and purely internalist. It is an answer that allows the justified-true-belief analysis of knowledge to survive Gettier’s attack (albeit as a nonreductionist analysis of knowledge).
The similarities between contemporary externalist theories of knowledge and classical Indian and Tibetan theories of knowledge are striking. Drawing on comparisons with Timothy Williamson’s recent work, I address related topics in Indo-Tibetan epistemology and show that correct analysis of these issues requires externalist theories of mind and knowledge. The topics addressed range from a discussion of possible Gettier cases in the Tibetan philosophical tradition to an assessment of arguments for and against the existence of factive mental states/events that fail (...) to be knowledge states/events. I conclude by explaining how these matters in Indian and Tibetan epistemology can inform us about the viability of externalist epistemologies of the sort articulated by Williamson. (shrink)
Infallibilism is the view that a belief cannot be at once warranted and false. In this essay we assess three nonpartisan arguments for infallibilism, arguments that do not depend on a prior commitment to some substantive theory of warrant. Three premises, one from each argument, are most significant: (1) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then the Gettier Problem cannot be solved; (2) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then its warrant (...) can be transferred to an accidentally true belief; (3) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then it can be warranted and accidentally true. We argue that each of these is either false or no more plausible than its denial. Along the way, we offer a solution to the Gettier Problem that is compatible with fallibilism. (shrink)
This paper challenges the first Gettier counterexample to the tripartite account of knowledge. Noting that 'the man who will get the job' is a description and invoking Donnellan's distinction between their 'referential' and 'attributive' uses, I argue that Smith does not actually believe that the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket. Smith's ignorance about who will get the job shows that the belief cannot be understood referentially, his ignorance of the coins in his (...) pocket shows that it cannot be understood attributively. An explanation for why Smith appeared to have justified true belief is given by distinguishing between 'belief' and 'belief in truth'. Smith believes the sentence 'the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket' to be true (he mistakenly believes that Jones will get the job, of whom he knows that he has ten coins in his pocket) (hence his 'belief'), the sentence is true (hence 'truth'), and he has sufficient reason to assent to it (hence his 'justification'). But he does not believe the proposition expressed. Hence he does not know it either. (shrink)
When it comes to second-order knowledge (i.e. knowing that one knows), internalists typically contend that when we know that p, we can, by reflecting, directly know that we are knowing it. Gettier considerations are employed to challenge this internalistic contention and to make out a prima facie case for internalistic metaepistemological skepticism, the thesis that no one ever intemalistically knows that one internalistically knows that p. In particular, I argue that at the metaepistemological second-order level, the Gettier problem (...) generates three distinct problems which, taken together, seriously undermine the possibility of anyone possessing second-order internalistic knowledge. (shrink)
Many epistemologists use intuitive responses to particular cases as evidence for their theories. Recently, experimental philosophers have challenged the evidential value of intuitions, suggesting that our responses to particular cases are unstable, inconsistent with the responses of the untrained, and swayed by factors such as ethnicity and gender. This paper presents evidence that neither gender nor ethnicity influence epistemic intuitions, and that the standard responses to Gettier cases and the like are widely shared. It argues that epistemic intuitions are (...) produced by the natural ‘mindreading’ capacity that underpins ordinary attributions of belief and knowledge in everyday social interaction. Although this capacity is fallible, its weaknesses are similar to the weaknesses of natural capacities such as sensory perception. Experimentalists who do not wish to be skeptical about ordinary empirical methods have no good reason to be skeptical about epistemic intuitions. (shrink)
Intuitively, Gettier cases are instances of justified true beliefs that are not cases of knowledge. Should we therefore conclude that knowledge is not justified true belief? Only if we have reason to trust intuition here. But intuitions are unreliable in a wide range of cases. And it can be argued that the Gettier intuitions have a greater resemblance to unreliable intuitions than to reliable intuitions. Whats distinctive about the faulty intuitions, I argue, is that respecting them would mean (...) abandoning a simple, systematic and largely successful theory in favour of a complicated, disjunctive and idiosyncratic theory. So maybe respecting the Gettier intuitions was the wrong reaction, we should instead have been explaining why we are all so easily misled by these kinds of cases. (shrink)
Intuitively, there is a difference between knowledge and mere belief. Contemporary philosophical work on the nature of this difference has focused on scenarios known as “Gettier cases.” Designed as counterexamples to the classical theory that knowledge is justified true belief, these cases feature agents who arrive at true beliefs in ways which seem reasonable or justified, while nevertheless seeming to lack knowledge. Prior empirical investigation of these cases has raised questions about whether lay people generally share philosophers’ intuitions about (...) these cases, or whether lay intuitions vary depending on individual factors (e.g. ethnicity) or factors related to specific types of Gettier cases (e.g. cases that include apparent evidence). We report an experiment on lay attributions of knowledge and justification for a wide range of Gettier Cases and for a related class of controversial cases known as Skeptical Pressure cases, which are also thought by philosophers to elicit intuitive denials of knowledge. Although participants rated true beliefs in Gettier and Skeptical Pressure cases as being justified, they were significantly less likely to attribute knowledge for these cases than for matched true belief cases. This pattern of response was consistent across different variations of Gettier cases and did not vary by ethnicity or gender, although attributions of justification were found to be positively related to measures of empathy. These findings therefore suggest that across demographic groups, laypeople share similar epistemic concepts with philosophers, recognizing a difference between knowledge and justified true belief. (shrink)
The Gettier Problem is the problem of revising the view that knowledge is justified true belief in a way that is immune to Gettier counter-examples. The “Gettier Problem problem”, according to Lycan, is the problem of saying what is misguided about trying to solve the Gettier Problem. In this paper I take up the Gettier Problem problem. I distinguish giving conditions that are necessary and sufficient for knowledge from giving conditions that explain why one knows (...) when one does know. I argue that the problem with the Gettier Problem is that it requires us to articulate conditions that suffice for knowledge even if those conditions are non-explanatory. After defending this view, I take up two related methodological issues, one about the evidence that can be given in favor of an account of knowledge, and one about the role that investigating justification might play in investigating knowledge. (shrink)
One thing nearly all epistemologists agree upon is that Gettier cases are decisive counterexamples to the tripartite analysis of knowledge; whatever else is true of knowledge, it is not merely belief that is both justified and true. They now agree that knowledge is not justified true belief because this is consistent with there being too much luck present in the cases, and that knowledge excludes such luck. This is to endorse what has become known as the 'anti-luck platitude'. <br (...) /><br />But what if generations of philosophers have been mistaken about this, blinded at least partially by a deeply entrenched professional bias? There has been another, albeit minority, response to Gettier: to deny that the cases are counterexamples at all. <br /><br />Stephen Hetherington, a principal and vocal proponent of this view, advances what he calls the 'Knowing Luckily Proposal'. If Hetherington is correct, this would call for a major re-evaluation and re-orientation of post-Gettier analytic epistemology, since much of it assumes the anti-luck platitude both in elucidating the concept of knowledge, and in the application of such accounts to central philosophical problems. It is therefore imperative that the Knowing Luckily Proposal be considered and evaluated in detail. <br /><br />In this paper I critically assess the Knowing Luckily Proposal. I argue that while it draws our attention to certain important features of knowledge, ultimately it fails, and the anti-luck platitude emerges unscathed. Whatever else is true of knowledge, therefore, it is non-lucky true belief. For a proposition to count as knowledge, we cannot arrive at its truth accidentally or for the wrong reason. (shrink)
This paper argues that for someone to know proposition p inferentially it is not enough that his belief in p and his justification for believing p covary with the truth of p through a sphere of possibilities. A further condition on inferential knowledge is that p's truth-maker is identical with, or causally related to, the state of affairs the justification is grounded in. This position is dubbed ‘identificationism.’.
The Proper Functionist account of warrant – like many otherexternalist accounts – is vulnerable to certain Gettier-style counterexamples involving accidentally true beliefs. In this paper, I briefly survey the development of the account, noting the way it was altered in response to such counterexamples. I then argue that Alvin Plantinga's latest amendment to the account is flawed insofar as it rules out cases of true beliefs which do intuitively strike us as knowledge, and that a conjecture recently put forward (...) by Thomas Crisp is also defective. I conclude by presenting my own suggestion as to how the account can be made less vulnerable to counterexamples involving accidentally true beliefs. Although I stay within the confines of Proper Functionism here, I think that my proposal (modulo a few details) could be attached to other externalist accounts of warrant as well. -/- . (shrink)
In the present paper we propose a system of propositional logic for reasoning about justification, truthmaking, and the connection between justifiers and truthmakers. The logic of justification and truthmaking is developed according to the fundamental ideas introduced by Artemov. Justifiers and truthmakers are treated in a similar way, exploiting the intuition that justifiers provide epistemic grounds for propositions to be considered true, while truthmakers provide ontological grounds for propositions to be true. This system of logic is then applied both for (...) interpreting the notorious definition of knowledge as justified true belief and for advancing a new solution to Gettier counterexamples to this standard definition. (shrink)
Rachael Briggs and Daniel Nolan attempt to improve on Nozick’s tracking theory of knowledge by providing a modified, dispositional tracking theory. The dispositional theory, however, faces more problems than those previously noted by John Turri. First, it is not simply that satisfaction of the theory’s conditions is unnecessary for knowledge – it is insufficient as well. Second, in one important respect, the dispositional theory is a step backwards relative to the original tracking theory: the original but not the dispositional theory (...) can avoid Gettier-style counterexamples. Future attempts to improve the tracking theory would be wise to bear these problems in mind. (shrink)
One version of virtue epistemology defines knowledge as belief whose truth arises from, or is explained by, the motives that produced it. This version is also intended to solve the Gettier problem, by shielding properly caused beliefs from double accidents. Unfortunately, there is no notion of "explains" or "arises from" which explains in the intended sense the truth of true beliefs.
How do people decide which claims should be considered mere beliefs and which count as knowledge? Although little is known about how people attribute knowledge to others, philosophical debate about the nature of knowledge may provide a starting point. Traditionally, a belief that is both true and justiﬁed was thought to constitute knowledge. However, philosophers now agree that this account is inadequate, due largely to a class of counterexamples (termed ‘‘Gettier cases’’) in which a person’s justiﬁed belief is true, (...) but only due to luck. We report four experiments examining the effect of truth, justiﬁcation, and ‘‘Gettiering’’ on people’s knowledge attributions. These experiments show that: (1) people attribute knowledge to others only when their beliefs are both true and justiﬁed; (2) in contrast to contemporary philosophers, people also attribute knowledge to others in Gettier situations; and (3) knowledge is not attributed in one class of Gettier cases, but only because the agent’s belief is based on ‘‘apparent’’ evidence. These ﬁndings suggest that the lay concept of knowledge is roughly consistent with the traditional account of knowledge as justiﬁed true belief, and also point to a major difference between the epistemic intuitions of laypeople and those of philosophers. (shrink)
The general drive in epistemology is to deliver necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge with the use of exceptionless general epistemic principles. There is another way, however, to approach the phenomenon of knowledge – by particularistic beautiful patterns. David Lewis in his paper „Elusive Knowledge” provides a nice contextual epistemology. We also think that contextualism is the right way to go and that the epistemic context plays an important role in our endeavors to gain knowledge. But, we disagree with Lewis (...) on two points of his account, namely that we can talk of knowledge without justification and that a set of exceptionless rules determines relevant alternatives. We retain the overall notion of knowledge as justified true belief and try to work out a contextualist account of knowledge within this notion, at the same time pointing to an alternative, particularistic view on relevance and relevant alternatives. We briefly sketch our proposal building upon the distinction between the local and global justification and we put forward some suggestions how this approach tackles skeptical scenarios, the lottery problem and Gettier cases. (shrink)
Prominent instances of anti-luck epistemology, in particular sensitivity and safety accounts of knowledge, introduce a modal condition on the pertinent belief in terms of closeness or similarity of possible worlds. Very roughly speaking, a belief must continue to be true in close possibilities in order to qualify as knowledge. Such closeness-accounts derive much support from their (alleged) ability to eliminate standard instances of epistemic luck as they appear in prominent Gettier-type examples. The article argues that there are new (...) class='Hi'>Gettier-type examples which are grounded in “distant” epistemic luck. It is demonstrated that sensitivity and safety theories cannot handle such examples. (shrink)
Edited book containing the following essays: 1 Getting over Gettier, Alan Musgrave.- 2 Justified Believing: Avoiding the Paradox Gregory W. Dawes.- Chapter 3! Literature and Truthfulness,Gregory Currie.- 4 Where the Buck-passing Stops, Andrew Moore.- 5 Universal Darwinism: Its Scope and Limits, James Maclaurin, - 6 The Future of Utilitarianism,Tim Mulgan. 7 Kant on Experiment, Alberto Vanzo.- 8 Did Newton ʻFeignʼ the Corpuscular Hypothesis? Kirsten Walsh.- 9 The Progress of Scotland: The Edinburgh Philosophical Societies and the Experimental Method, Juan Gomez.- (...) 10 Propositions: Truth vs. Existence, Heather Dyke.- 11 Against Advanced Modalizing, Josh Parsons.- 12 Spread Worlds, Plenitude and Modal Realism: A Problem for DavidLewis, Charles R. Pigden and Rebecca E. B. Entwisle.- 13 Defending Quine on Ontological Commitment. 14. The Scandal of Platonism, Vladimír Svoboda.- 15 A Neglected Reply to Prior's Dilemma J. C. Beall. 16 Mathematical and Empirical Concepts, Pavel Materna.- 17 Post-Fregean Thoughts on Propositional Unity, Bjørn Jespersen.- 18 Best-path Theorem Proving: Compiling Derivations, Martin Frické.- 19 Is Imperative Inference Impossible?, Hannah Clark-Younger. . (shrink)
Why are the conditions for propositional knowledge so difficult to discover or devise in this post-Gettier age? Why do not most epistemologists agree on roughly the same analysis as they appear to have done in the pre-Gettier paradise? I argue that the problem lies in that fact that the epistemologists' intuitive concept of knowledge appeals to desiderata that probably cannot be satisfied. Unfortunately, if we abandon some of these desiderata, it is difficult to settle on a concept of (...) knowledge which is not too remote from our initial intuitions. I suggest that epistemology may be better off without the concept of knowledge. There are plenty of other interesting notions for us to be going on with. (shrink)
This work explores the conceptual and empirical issues of the concept of knowledge and its relation to the pattern of our belief change, from formal and experimental perspectives. Part I gives an analysis of knowledge (called Sustainability) that is formally represented and naturalistically plausible at the same time, which is claimed to be a synthesized view of knowledge, covering not only empirical knowledge, but also knowledge of future, practical knowledge, mathematical knowledge, knowledge of general facts. Part II tries to formalize (...) the natural pattern of belief change assumed in Sustainability in terms of a specific formal theory of belief change, after carefully examining the notions of belief, belief change, and Information, from which the cognitive function F in Chapter 3 is actually constructed, which is later implemented by a computer program and its behavior against random input is demonstrated. In Part III we proceed to examine the analysis empirically. In particular, we will investigate Sustainability from the developmental point of view. We first justify experimental approach in philosophy as a legitimate method of philosophical investigation, and then developmental approach in particular. The specific proposal of experiment here is what we call the Gettier Task, an analogue of the famous false-belief task in developmental psychology, which has been much discussed in philosophy of mind. Two versions of the Gettier Task were tested on children aged from 6 to 12, and we claim that the data obtained empirically supports our analysis of knowledge, or Sustainability. (shrink)
Intuitions play an important role in contemporary epistemology. Over the last decade, however, experimental philosophers have published a number of studies suggesting that epistemic intuitions may vary in ways that challenge the widespread reliance on intuitions in epistemology. In a recent paper, Jennifer Nagel offers a pair of arguments aimed at showing that epistemic intuitions do not, in fact, vary in problematic ways. One of these arguments relies on a number of claims defended by appeal to the psychological literature on (...) intuitive judgment and on mental state attribution (also known as “theory of mind”, “mindreading” and “folk psychology”). I call this the "theoretical argument". The other argument relies on recent experimental work carried out by Nagel and her collaborators. It is my contention that in setting out her theoretical argument, Nagel offers an account of the relevant scientific literature that is, in crucial respects, flawed and misleading. My main goal in this paper is to rectify these errors and to make it clear that, once this is done, Nagel’s theoretical argument collapses. Since Nagel’s experimental work has not yet been published, and available details are very sketchy, I do not discuss this work in detail. However, in the final section of the paper I offer some critical observations about Nagel’s strategy for dealing with empirical data that does not support her view – both other people’s and her own. (shrink)
This paper examines the claim made by certain virtue epistemologists that intellectual character virtues like fair-mindedness, open-mindedness and intellectual courage merit an important and fundamental role in epistemology. I begin by considering whether these traits merit an important role in the analysis of knowledge. I argue that they do not and that in fact they are unlikely to be of much relevance to any of the traditional problems in epistemology. This presents a serious challenge for virtue epistemology. I go on (...) to examine the work of two other virtue epistemologists in light of this challenge and then sketch an alternative approach that reveals how the intellectual virtues might merit a substantial role in epistemology even if not a role in connection with more traditional epistemological projects. (shrink)
Many contemporary epistemologists hold that a subject S’s true belief that p counts as knowledge only if S’s belief that p is also, in some important sense, safe. I describe accounts of this safety condition from John Hawthorne, Duncan Pritchard, and Ernest Sosa. There have been three counterexamples to safety proposed in the recent literature, from Comesaña, Neta and Rohrbaugh, and Kelp. I explain why all three proposals fail: each moves fallaciously from the fact that S was at epistemic risk (...) just before forming her belief to the conclusion that S’s belief was formed unsafely. In light of lessons from their failure, I provide a new and successful counterexample to the safety condition on knowledge. It follows, then, that knowledge need not be safe. Safety at a time depends counterfactually on what would likely happen at that time or soon after in a way that knowledge does not. I close by considering one objection concerning higher-order safety. (shrink)
The recent movement towards virtue–theoretic treatments of epistemological concepts can be understood in terms of the desire to eliminate epistemic luck. Significantly, however, it is argued that the two main varieties of virtue epistemology are responding to different types of epistemic luck. In particular, whilst proponents of reliabilism–based virtue theories have been focusing on the problem of what I call “veritic” epistemic luck, non–reliabilism–based virtue theories have instead been concerned with a very different type of epistemic luck, what I call (...) “reflective” epistemic luck. It is argued that, prima facie at least, both forms of epistemic luck need to be responded to by any adequate epistemological theory. The problem, however, is that one can best eliminate veritic epistemic luck by adducing a so–called safety–based epistemological theory that need not be allied to a virtue–based account, and there is no fully adequate way of eliminating reflective epistemic luck. I thus conclude that this raises a fundamental difficulty for virtue–based epistemological theories, on either construal. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]. (shrink)
The usual way to try to ground knowing according to contemporary theory of knowledge is: We know something if (1) it’s true, (2) we believe it, and (3) we believe it for the “right” reasons. Floridi proposes a better way. His grounding is based partly on probability theory, and partly on a question/answer network of verbal and behavioural interactions evolving in time. This is rather like modeling the data-exchange between a data-seeker who needs to know which button to press on (...) a food-dispenser and a data-knower who already knows the correct number. The success criterion, hence the grounding, is whether the seeker’s probability of lunch is indeed increasing (hence uncertainty is decreasing) as a result of the interaction. Floridi also suggests that his philosophy of information casts some light on the problem of consciousness. I’m not so sure. (shrink)
The presence of luck in our cognitive as in our moral lives shows that the quality of our intellectual character may not be entirely up to us as individuals, and that our motivation and even our ability to desire the truth, like our moral goodness, can be fragile. This paper uses epistemologists'responses to the problem of “epistemic luck” as a sounding board and locates the source of some of their deepest disagreements in divergent, value-charged “interests in explanation,” which epistemologists bring (...) with them to discussions of knowledge and justification. In so doing, I delineate both the commonalities and key differences between those authors I describe as virtue reliabilists and those I describe as virtue responsibilists. (shrink)
Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson's influential article "Knowing How" argues that knowledge-how is a species of knowledge-that. One objection to their view is that knowledge-how is significantly different than knowledge-that because Gettier cases afflict the latter but not the former. Stanley and Williamson argue that this objection fails. Their response. however, is not adequate. Moreover, I sketch a plausible argument that knowledge-how is not susceptible to Gettier cases. This suggests a significant distinction between knowledge-that and knowledge-how.
Epistemologists have recently debated whether understanding is a species of knowledge. However, because they have offered little in the way of a detailed analysis of understanding, they lack the resources to resolve this issue. In this paper, I propose that S understands why p if and only if S has the non-Gettierised true belief that p, and for some proposition q, S has the non-Gettierised true belief that q is the best available explanation of p, S can correctly explain p (...) with q, and S can identify the features that make q the best explanation of p. On this analysis, understanding is reducible to knowing that p and that q is the best available explanation of p. (shrink)
Richard Feldman and William Lycan have defended a view according to which a necessary condition for a doxastic agent to have knowledge is that the agent’s belief is not essentially based on any false assumptions. I call this the no-essential-false-assumption account, or NEFA. Peter Klein considers examples of what he calls “useful false beliefs” and alters his own account of knowledge in a way which can be seen as a refinement of NEFA. This paper shows that NEFA, even given Klein’s (...) refinement, is subject to counterexample: a doxastic agent may possess knowledge despite having an essential false assumption. Advocates of NEFA could simply reject the intuition that the example is a case of knowledge. However, if the example is interpreted as not being a case of knowledge, then it can be used as a potential counterexample against both safety and sensitivity views of knowledge. I also provide a further case which, I claim, is problematic for all of the accounts just mentioned. I then propose, briefly, an alternative account of knowledge which handles all these cases appropriately. (shrink)
We report experimental results showing that participants are more likely to attribute knowledge in familiar Gettier cases when the would-be knowers are performing actions that are negative in some way (e.g., harmful, blameworthy, norm-violating) than when they are performing positive or neutral actions. Our experiments bring together important elements from the Gettier case literature in epistemology and the Knobe effect literature in experimental philosophy and reveal new insights into folk patterns of knowledge attribution.
Philosophers have recognized for some time the usefulness of semantic conceptions of truth and belief. That the third member of the knowledge triad, evidence, might also have a useful semantic version seems to have been overlooked. This paper corrects that omission by defining a semantic conception of evidence for science and mathematics and then developing a semantic conception of knowledge for these fields, arguably mankind’s most important knowledge repository. The goal is to demonstrate the advantages of having an answer to (...) the more modest question “What is necessary and sufficient for introducing a knowledge predicate into scientific and mathematical languages?” – as contrasted with the ambitious Platonic question “What is knowledge?” After presenting the theory, the paper responds to a wide range of objections stemming from traditional philosophical concerns. (shrink)
What sorts of things are the intuitions generated via thought experiment? Timothy Williamson has responded to naturalistic skeptics by arguing that thought-experiment intuitions are judgments of ordinary counterfactuals. On this view, the intuition is naturalistically innocuous, but it has a contingent content and could be known at best a posteriori. We suggest an alternative to Williamson's account, according to which we apprehend thought-experiment intuitions through our grasp on truth in fiction. On our view, intuitions like the Gettier intuition are (...) necessarily true and knowable a priori. Our view, like Williamson's, avoids naturalistic skepticism. (shrink)