In this paper, I argue that, as far as Gettiercases are concerned, appearances are deceiving. That is, Gettiercases merely appear to be cases of epistemic failure (i.e., failing to know that p) but are in fact cases of semantic failure (i.e., failing to refer to x). Gettiercases are cases of reference failure because the candidates for knowledge in these cases contain ambiguous designators. If this is correct, then (...) we may simply be mistaking semantic facts for epistemic facts when we consider Gettiercases. This, in turn, is a good reason not to assign much, if any, evidential weight to Gettier intuitions (i.e., that S doesn’t know that p in a Gettier case). (shrink)
The possibility of justified true belief without knowledge is normally motivated by informally classified examples. This paper shows that it can also be motivated more formally, by a natural class of epistemic models in which both knowledge and justified belief (in the relevant sense) are represented. The models involve a distinction between appearance and reality. Gettiercases arise because the agent's ignorance increases as the gap between appearance and reality widens. The models also exhibit an epistemic asymmetry between (...) good and bad cases that sceptics seem to ignore or deny. (shrink)
The five commentators on my paper ‘GettierCases in Epistemic Logic’ (GCEL) demonstrate how fruitful the topic can be. Especially in Brian Weatherson's contribution, and to some extent in those of Jennifer Nagel and Jeremy Goodman, much of the material constitutes valuable development and refinement of ideas in GCEL, rather than criticism. In response, I draw some threads together, and answer objections, mainly those in the papers by Stewart Cohen and Juan Comesaña and by Goodman.
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 Gettiercases tell us something about knowledge where skeptical intuitions involve systematic error. (shrink)
Do laypeople and philosophers differ in their attributions of knowledge? Starmans and Friedman maintain that laypeople differ from philosophers in taking ‘authentic evidence’ Gettiercases to be cases of knowledge. Their reply helpfully clarifies the distinction between ‘authentic evidence’ and ‘apparent evidence’. Using their sharpened presentation of this distinction, we contend that the argument of our original paper still stands.
Williamson has a strikingly economical way of showing how justified true belief can fail to constitute knowledge: he models a class of Gettiercases by means of two simple constraints. His constraints can be shown to rely on some unstated assumptions about the relationship between reality and appearance. These assumptions are epistemologically non-trivial but can be defended as plausible idealizations of our actual predicament, in part because they align well with empirical work on the metacognitive dimension of experience.
In this paper, I respond to Philip Atkins’ reply to my attempt to explain why Gettiercases (and Gettier-style cases) are misleading. I have argued that Gettiercases (and Gettier-style cases) are misdealing because the candidates for knowledge in such cases contain ambiguous designators. Atkins denies that Gettier’s original cases contain ambiguous designators and offers his intuition that the subjects in Gettier’s original cases do not know. I (...) argue that his reply amounts to mere intuition mongering and I explain why Gettiercases, even Atkins’ revised version of Gettier’s Case I, still contain ambiguous designators. (shrink)
I have argued that Gettiercases are misleading because, even though they appear to be cases of knowledge failure, they are in fact cases of semantic failure. Atkins has responded to my original paper and I have replied to his response. He has then responded again to insist that he has the so-called “Gettier intuition.” But he now admits that intuitions are only defeasible, not conclusive, evidence for and/or against philosophical theories. I address the implications (...) of Atkins’ admission in this paper and I again show that his attempts to revise Gettier’s original cases such that they do not involve semantic failures are unsuccessful. (shrink)
This article argues that justified true beliefs in Gettiercases often are not true due to luck. I offer two ‘unlucky’ Gettiercases, 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 Gettiercases, what is? Second, what do Gettiercases reveal about (...) knowledge? (shrink)
I argue that Greco’s handling of barn-façade cases is unsatisfactory as it is at odds with his treatment of standard Gettiercases. I contend that this is so as there is no salient feature of either type of case such that that feature provides a ground to grant, as Greco argues, that there is an exercising of ability in one type of case, standard Gettiercases, but not in the other, barn-façade cases. The result, (...) I argue, is that either Greco must revise his grounds for treating barn-façade cases as he does or he must revise his treatment of standard Gettiercases. (shrink)
The orthodox view in contemporary epistemology is that Edmund Gettier refuted the JTB analysis of knowledge, according to which knowledge is justified true belief. In a recent paper Moti Mizrahi questions the orthodox view. According to Mizrahi, the cases that Gettier advanced against the JTB analysis are misleading. In this paper I defend the orthodox view.
One of the most discussed articles in the theory of knowledge is Edmund Gettier’s article “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”, published in 1963. In this article Gettier undermined the view that knowledge is justified true belief. I think that Gettier’s analysis has consequences not only for the question what knowledge is but also for our idea of truth. In this paper I argue that an analysis in the sense of Gettier shows that a statement can be (...) both true and not true at the same time. (shrink)
The term “Gettier Case” is a technical term frequently applied to a wide array of thought experiments in contemporary epistemology. What do these cases have in common? It is said that they all involve a justified true belief which, intuitively, is not knowledge, due to a form of luck called “Gettiering.” While this very broad characterization suffices for some purposes, it masks radical diversity. We argue that the extent of this diversity merits abandoning the notion of a “ (...) class='Hi'>Gettier case” in a favour of more finely grained terminology. We propose such terminology, and use it to effectively sort the myriad Gettiercases from the theoretical literature in a way that charts deep fault lines in ordinary judgments about knowledge. (shrink)
The possibility of justified true belief without knowledge is normally motivated by informally classified examples. This paper shows that it can also be motivated more formally, by a natural class of epistemic models in which both knowledge and justified belief are represented. The models involve a distinction between appearance and reality. Gettiercases arise because the agent's ignorance increases as the gap between appearance and reality widens. The models also exhibit an epistemic asymmetry between good and bad (...) class='Hi'>cases that sceptics seem to ignore or deny. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has fruitfully exploited formal resources to shed considerable light on the nature of knowledge. In the paper under examination, Williamson turns his attention to Gettiercases, showing how they can be motivated formally. At the same time, he disparages the kind of justification he thinks gives rise to these cases. He favors instead his own notion of justification for which Gettiercases cannot arise. We take issue both with his disparagement of the kind (...) of justification that figures in Gettiercases and the specifics of the formal motivation. (shrink)
Assertion is fundamental to our lives as social and cognitive beings. By asserting, we share knowledge, coordinate behavior, and advance collective inquiry. Accordingly, assertion is of considerable interest to cognitive scientists, social scientists, and philosophers. This paper advances our understanding of the norm of assertion. Prior evidence suggests that knowledge is the norm of assertion, a view known as “the knowledge account.” In its strongest form, the knowledge account says that knowledge is both necessary and sufficient for assertability: you should (...) make an assertion if and only if you know that it is true. The knowledge account has been rejected on the grounds that it conflicts with our ordinary practice of evaluating assertions. This paper reports four experiments that address an important objection of this sort, which focuses on a class of examples known as “Gettiercases.” The results undermine the objection and, in the process, provide further evidence for the knowledge account. T... (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 Gettiercases is suggested.
As it is well known, the characterization of knowledge in termsof “Justified True Belief” has been deemed unsuccessful since the popularization of Gettier-type counterexamples. This paper revisits Gettier’s seminal work and examines his arguments carefully. It holds that Gettier counterexamples are based on unwarranted substitution moves; that one of his arguments seems persuasive because it conflates syntactic validity with semantic truth; that for such reasons his case is weaker than it appears; and that there is, in fact, (...) an avenue for escape open to the supporter of JTB. In short,I shall contend that Gettier’s cases are not genuine counterexamples to thestandard characterization of knowledge in terms of JTB and that, consequently,such characterization is not seriously affected. (shrink)
The paper explains how Gettier’s conclusion can be reached on general theoretical grounds within the framework of epistemic logic, without reliance on thought experiments. It extends the argument to permissive conceptions of justification that invalidate principles of multi-premise closure and require neighbourhood semantics rather than semantics of a more standard type. The paper concludes by recommending a robust methodology that aims at convergence in results between thought experimentation and more formal methods. It also warns against conjunctive definitions as sharing (...) several of the drawbacks of disjunctive definitions. (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)
Could the standard interpretation of Gettiercases reflect a fundamental confusion? Indeed so. How well can epistemologists argue for the truth of that standard interpretation? Not so well. A methodological mistake is allowing them not to notice how they are simply (and inappropriately) being infallibilists when regarding Gettiered beliefs as failing to be knowledge. There is no Gettier problem that we have not merely created for ourselves by unwittingly being infallibilists about knowledge.
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 “Gettiercases.” 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 Gettiercases (e.g. cases that include apparent evidence). We report an experiment on lay attributions of knowledge and justification for a wide range of GettierCases 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 Gettiercases 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)
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 Gettiercases 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)
I argue against traditional virtue epistemology on which knowledge is a success due to a competence to believe truly, by revealing an in-principle problem with the traditional virtue epistemologist’s explanation of Gettiercases. The argument eliminates one of the last plausible explanation of Gettiercases, and so of knowledge, in terms of non-factive mental states and non-mental conditions. I then I develop and defend a different kind of virtue epistemology, on which knowledge is an exercise of (...) a competence to know. I show how the account, while circular, is not viciously so. It explains both how knowledge is a mental state, as well as the relationship between knowledge and justification, including justified false beliefs and Gettiercases. Moreover, although direct virtue epistemology is compatible with many views on the nature of belief, it can explain how knowledge might be metaphysically more fundamental than belief as well. (shrink)
A number of prominent epistemologists claim that the principle of sensitivity “play[s] a starring role in the solution to some important epistemological problems”. I argue that traditional sensitivity accounts fail to explain even the most basic data that are usually considered to constitute their primary motivation. To establish this result I develop Gettier and lottery cases involving necessary truths. Since beliefs in necessary truths are sensitive by default, the resulting cases give rise to a serious explanatory problem (...) for the defenders of sensitivity accounts. It is furthermore argued that attempts to modally strengthen traditional sensitivity accounts to avoid the problem must appeal to a notion of safety—the primary competitor of sensitivity in the literature. The paper concludes that the explanatory virtues of sensitivity accounts are largely illusory. In the framework of modal epistemology, it is safety rather than sensitivity that does the heavy explanatory lifting with respect to Gettiercases, lottery examples, and other pertinent cases. (shrink)
This paper defends the simple view that in asserting that p, one lies iff one knows that p is false. Along the way it draws some morals about deception, knowledge, Gettiercases, belief, assertion, and the relationship between first- and higher-order norms.
Nagel, San Juan, and Mar report an experiment investigating lay attributions of knowledge, belief, and justification. They suggest that, in keeping with the expectations of philosophers, but contra recent empirical findings [Starmans, C. & Friedman, O. (2012). The folk conception of knowledge. Cognition, 124, 272–283], laypeople consistently deny knowledge in Gettiercases, regardless of whether the beliefs are based on ‘apparent’ or ‘authentic’ evidence. In this reply, we point out that Nagel et al. employed a questioning method that (...) biased participants to deny knowledge. Moreover, careful examination of participants’ responses reveals that they attributed knowledge in Gettiercases. We also note that Nagel et al. misconstrue the distinction between ‘apparent’ and ‘authentic’ evidence, and use scenarios that do not feature the structure that characterizes most Gettiercases. We conclude that NS&M’s findings are fully compatible with the claim that laypeople attribute knowledge in Gettiercases in general, but are significantly less likely to attribute knowledge when a belief is generated based on apparent evidence. (shrink)
In this paper I will offer a comprehensive defense of the safety account of knowledge against counterexamples that have been recently put forward. In section 1, I will discuss different versions of safety, arguing that a specific variant of method-relativized safety is the most plausible. I will then use this specific version of safety to respond to counterexamples in the recent literature. In section 2, I will address alleged examples of safe beliefs that still constitute Gettiercases. In (...) section 3, I will discuss alleged examples of unsafe (and in this sense lucky) knowledge. In section 4, I will address alleged cases of safe belief that do not constitute knowledge for non-Gettier reasons. My overall goal is to show that there are no successful counterexamples to robust anti-luck epistemology and to highlight some major presuppositions of my reply. (shrink)
The contribution deals with knowledge of what to do, and how, where, when and why to do it, as it is found in a multitude of plans, rules, procedures, maxims, and other instructions. It is argued that while this knowledge is conceptual and propositional, it is still irreducible to theoretical knowledge of what is the case and why it is the case. It is knowledge of goals, of ends and means, rather than of facts. It is knowledge-to that is irreducibly (...) practical in having world to mind direction of fit and the essential function of guiding as yet uncompleted action. While practical knowledge is fundamentally different from theoretical knowledge in terms of mind-world relations, the practical and theoretical domains are still parallel in terms of justificatory and inferential relations, they are like mirror images of one another. It is shown that if this view of practical knowledge is accepted, convincing Gettiercases for practical knowledge can be constructed. An extensive analysis of these cases demonstrates the usefulness of the notions of practical deduction, abduction, and induction. (shrink)
As part of Timothy Williamson’s inquiry into how we gain knowledge from thought experiments he submits various ways of representing the argument underlying Gettiercases in modal and counterfactual terms. But all of these ways run afoul of the problem of deviance - that there are cases that might satisfy the descriptions given by a Gettier text but still fail to be counterexamples to the justified true belief model of knowledge). Problematically, this might mean that either (...) it is too hard to know the truth of the premises of the arguments Williamson presents or that the relevant premises might be false. I argue that the Gettier-style arguments can make do with weaker premises (and a slightly weaker conclusion) that suffice to show that “necessarily, if one justifiably believes some true proposition p, then one knows p” is not true. The modified version of the argument is preferable because it is not troubled by the existence of deviant Gettiercases. (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 Gettiercases. (shrink)
CAN VIRTUE EPISTEMOLOGY SOLVE THE GETTIER PROBLEM? The aim of this paper is to investigate if ideas developed by philosophers representing the current called Virtue Epistemology are able to resolve the Gettier problem. First of all, I am going to remind what classical concept of knowledge as justified true belief consists in, then I present co-called Gettiercases that are counterexamples to the classical idea of knowledge. Then I investigate how the idea of evaluating beliefs formulated (...) by Ernest Sosa is able to deal with hard cases made by Gettier, but also Chisholm and Goldman. I argue that Sosa’s conception could be viewed as satisfactory analysis of knowledge, if we slightly modify it to accommodate Goldman’s case. (shrink)
This paper argues that knowledge is an instance of a more general and familiar normative kind—that of success through ability (or success through excellence, or success through virtue). This thesis is developed in the context of three themes prominent in the recent literature: that knowledge attributions are somehow context sensitive; that knowledge is intimately related to practical reasoning; and that one purpose of the concept of knowledge is to flag good sources of information. Wedding these themes to the proposed account (...) helps to explain a wide range of standard Gettier problems. It also helps to explain barn façade cases, which require a different kind of treatment. (shrink)
Jennifer Hornsby has defended the Reasons-Knowledge Thesis : the claim that \-ing because p requires knowing that p, where the ‘because’ at issue is a rationalising ‘because’. She defends by appeal to the thought that it provides the best explanation of why the subject in a certain sort of Gettier case fails to be in a position to \ because p. Dustin Locke and, separately, Nick Hughes, present some modified barn-façade cases which seem to constitute counterexamples to and (...) undermine Hornsby’s way of motivating it by rendering their alternative Reasons-Explanation Thesis a better explanation of Hornsby’s datum. This paper defends and Hornsby’s argument for it against those objections. First, I point out that their supposedly intuitive verdict about the relevant barn-façade cases is not as intuitive as they think. Second, I point out that even if we share the intuition: we have strong reason to doubt the verdict anyway. And finally, I point out that since is independently implausible, the two problems can be tackled anyway. (shrink)
Der Beitrag beleuchtet einen bisher kaum gewürdigten Grund dafür, dass die Gettier-Debatte nicht zu einer systematisch verbesserten Analyse des Wissensbegriffs geführt hat. Es wird die These entwickelt und verteidigt, dass diejenigen Komplikationen, die einen Gettierfall zu einem solchen machen, sich stets in den blinden Flecken der Situationsrepräsentation des epistemischen Subjekts befinden. Diese These ist in die metaphilosophische Fragestellung eingebettet, was das Gettierproblem uns über das Verhältnis von sprachlichen Intuitionen und Begriffsanalysen lehrt. Es gibt unter kompetenten Sprechern beträchtliche Einmütigkeit darüber, (...) dass paradigmatische Gettierfälle als Fälle von Nichtwissen zu klassifizieren sind, aber ungleich weniger Einigkeit darüber, ob und wie die klassische Analyse des Wissensbegriffs verbessert werden kann. Zu der Frage, warum es so schwer ist, konvergierende sprachliche Intuitionen über Einzelfälle in eine gettierfallsichere allgemeine Analyse zu überführen, werden folgende Thesen entwickelt: Was in Gettierfällen konfligiert, sind nicht Analyse und Intuition als solche, sondern die Charakterisierung eines Situationstyps und die Beurteilung einer einzelnen Situation angesichts einer bestimmten Gettierkomplikation. Die Aufgabe, eine allgemeine Beschreibung der mit Wissen unvereinbaren Komplikationen zu geben, geht weit über die kompetente Beurteilung von Einzelfällen hinaus. Möglicherweise ist sie unlösbar, weil das wörtliche Zutreffen der Beschreibung einer epistemischen Situation niemals garantieren kann, dass sich in den Leerstellen der Beschreibung keine Gettierkomplikation verbirgt. (shrink)
When discussing knowledge, two relations are of interest: justified doxastic accessibility \ , she is in \ ) and justification equivalence \ exactly the same justified beliefs that she has in \ ). Speaking of compatibility with the agent’s justified beliefs is potentially ambiguous: either of the two relations \ or \ can be meant. I discuss the possibility of identifying the relation of epistemic accessibility \ , she is in \ ) with the union of \ and \ . (...) Neither Gettier’s examples nor the ‘fake barn’ cases contradict this identification. However, the proposal leads to justification equivalent scenarios being symmetric with respect to knowledge: we cannot know a true proposition in a scenario if it is false in a justification equivalent scenario. This analysis may appear to render non-trivial knowledge impossible. This conclusion follows if the extra premise is granted that for all relevant true propositions there is a justification equivalent scenario in which the proposition is false. I provide a meaning-theoretic argument against this premise. I conclude by pointing out problems that would ensue from giving up the proposed connection between \ , \ and \ and allowing asymmetry of justification equivalent scenarios relative to knowledge. (shrink)
I challenge a cornerstone of the Gettier debate: that a proposed analysis of the concept of knowledge is inadequate unless it entails that people don’t know in Gettiercases. I do so from the perspective of Carnap’s methodology of explication. It turns out that the Gettier problem per se is not a fatal problem for any account of knowledge, thus understood. It all depends on how the account fares regarding other putative counter examples and the further (...) Carnapian desiderata of exactness, fruitfulness and simplicity. Carnap proposed his methodology more than a decade before Gettier’s seminal paper appeared, making the present solution to the problem a candidate for being the least ad hoc proposal on the market, one whose independent standing cannot be questioned, among solutions that depart from the usual method of revising a theory of knowledge in the light of counterexamples. As an illustration of the method at work, I reconstruct reliabilism as an attempt to provide an explication of the concept of knowledge. (shrink)
Gettier presented the now famous Gettier problem as a challenge to epistemology. The methods Gettier used to construct his challenge, however, utilized certain principles of formal logic that are actually inappropriate for the natural language discourse of the Gettiercases. In that challenge to epistemology, Gettier also makes truth claims that would be considered controversial in analytic philosophy of language. The Gettier challenge has escaped scrutiny in these other relevant academic disciplines, however, because (...) of its façade as an epistemological analysis. This article examines Gettier's methods with the analytical tools of logic and analytic philosophy of language. (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 Gettiercases 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)
Truthmaker theory has become immensely popular in recent years. So, it is not surprising that we are beginning to see it put to work in other areas of philosophy. Recently, several philosophers have proposed that truthmaker theory is the key to solving the Gettier problem. Edmund Gettier demonstrated that the traditional analysis of knowledge (as justified, true belief) was unsatisfactory. The truthmaker solution proposes that knowledge is a justified, true belief, where the source of one's justification is either (...) identical to, or else causally related to, the state of affairs which makes the believed proposition true. This amendment of the traditional analysis of knowledge purportedly escapes the problems identified by Gettiercases. In this paper, I will examine two particular recent endorsements of this solution – those from Sven Bernecker and Adrian Heathcote – and argue that truthmaker theory is not the key to solving the Gettier problem. (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 ‘GettierCases’ 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 GettierCases have spawned. (shrink)
Edmund Gettier’s three-page article is generally regarded as a classic of epistemology. I argue that Gettiercases depend upon three false assumptions and are irrelevant to the theory of knowledge. I suggest that we follow Karl Popper in abandoning subject-centred epistemologies in favour of theories of objective knowledge.
This paper argues that reliabilism can handle Gettiercases once it restricts knowledge producing reliable processes to those that involve a suitable causal link between the subject’s belief and the fact it references. Causal tracking reliabilism (as this version of reliabilism is called) also avoids the problems that refuted the causal theory of knowledge, along with problems besetting more contemporary theories (such as virtue reliabilism and the “safety” account of knowledge). Finally, causal tracking reliabilism allows for a response (...) to Linda Zagzebski’s challenge that no theory of knowledge can both eliminate the possibility of Gettiercases while also allowing fully warranted but false beliefs. (shrink)
The central thesis of robust virtue epistemology (RVE) is that the difference between knowledge and mere true belief is that knowledge involves success that is attributable to a subject's abilities. An influential objection to this approach is that RVE delivers the wrong verdicts in cases of environmental luck. Critics of RVE argue that the view needs to be supplemented with modal anti-luck condition. This particular criticism rests on a number of mistakes about the nature of ability that I shall (...) try to rectify here. (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)
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)
Recently, Timothy Williamson has argued that considerations about margins of errors can generate a new class of cases where agents have justified true beliefs without knowledge. I think this is a great argument, and it has a number of interesting philosophical conclusions. In this note I’m going to go over the assumptions of Williamson’s argument. I’m going to argue that the assumptions which generate the justification without knowledge are true. I’m then going to go over some of the recent (...) arguments in epistemology that are refuted by Williamson’s work. And I’m going to end with an admittedly inconclusive discussion of what we can know when using an imperfect measuring device. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose a new argument against Gettier’s counterexamples to the thesis that knowledge is justified true belief. I claim that if there is no doxastic voluntarism, and if it is admitted that one has formed the belief that p at t1 if, at t0, one would be surprised to learn or discover that not–p, it can be plausibly argued that Gettiered beliefs simply cannot be formed.