Talons Philosophy

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Justified True Belief is NOT knowledge! (Epistemology Reading) — David Sadeghizadeh

My initial epistemology question was “Does knowledge have to be accepted by people for it to exist?” As I researched the topic and tried to find evidences about it, I couldn’t really get to a conclusion. Whether it was my lack of epistemology vocabulary that hindered me to use the right words to search for my question or that there isn’t much about it, I still wasn’t able to find what I was looking for. However, as I was looking through Google and researching, I came upon this question, “Does knowledge have to be justified for it to be true?” My personal thought was that it didn’t need to be justified and then, I found Edmund Gettier. Edmund Gettier was an American philosopher in the 20th century and he basically destroyed the justified true belief argument. The video below does a great job explaining his case.

This blog gives another example of a Gettier Case:

“Suppose I see Caleb’s driver’s license and it says he is from Oklahoma City.  I come to believe that

      (1) Caleb is from Oklahoma City.

It seems to me that I am justified in believing that Caleb from Oklahoma City.  For the sake of the example, let us suppose that I am.  (If you don’t think I am, we could change the specifics of the example to ensure this, and Gettier’s argument would still go through.)

Suppose I infer from (1) that

      (2) Someone in my class is from Oklahoma City.

Certainly, if I am justified in believing (1) and I deduce (2) from (1), then I am justified in believing (2).

Now, suppose that Caleb’s ID was a fake. He’s not really from Oklahoma City.  Clearly, I don’t know (1), since it’s not even true (though I was still justified in believing it — justification does not require truth).  So far so good for JTB, since JTB yields the correct result here — namely, that I don’t know (1).

It also seems that I don’t know (2), either, since I inferred it from (1).

But suppose finally that, unbeknownst to me, someone else in the class is, just by luck, really from Oklahoma City.  That is, just by luck, (2) is true. Now, we agreed that I don’t in fact know (2).  But the thing is, I have a justified true belief that (2).  So here is a case in which I have justified true belief without knowledge.  Since JTB says that anytime someone has a justified true belief that p, he thereby knows that p, JTB is proven to be false.”

So there it is. Even though justified true belief has been seen as the definition of knowledge by many people, these examples prove otherwise. Now the main question; if knowledge is NOT justified true belief, what is it? My initial thought was that true belief is enough for someone to have knowledge but I am still looking for blogs/articles surrounding that idea.

Some questions I am interested to look into later are:

  1. My initial question (does knowledge have to be accepted by people for it to exist?)
  2. Is true belief sufficient enough for it to be considered knowledge?
  3. Personal/individual knowledge vs global knowledge

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