Justification before knowledge?

This paper assesses several prominent recent attacks on the view that epistemic justification is conceptually prior to knowledge. I argue that this view—call it the Received View (RV)—emerges from these attacks unscathed. I start with Timothy Williamson’s two strongest arguments for the claim that all evidence is knowledge (E>K), which impugns RV when combined with the claim that justification depends on evidence. One of Williamson’s arguments assumes a false epistemic closure principle; the other misses some alternative (to E>K) explanations of a putative fact about the evidence a particular subject has. Next, I neutralize each of Jonathan Sutton’s three recent arguments to the conclusion that any justified belief constitutes knowledge. Finally, I consider a recent analysis of justification due to Alexander Bird, according to which justified belief is possible knowledge. I argue that Bird’s analysis delivers neither a sufficient nor (more importantly) a necessary condition for justification. [Word count: 149].
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