References and Further Reading 1. Introduction Gettier problems or cases arose as a challenge to our understanding of the nature of knowledge. Initially, that challenge appeared in an article by Edmund Gettier, published in Note that sometimes this general challenge is called the Gettier problem. What, then, is the nature of knowledge? And can we rigorously define what it is to know?
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Edmund Gettier Edmund Gettier is famous for his widely cited paper proposing what is now known as the "Gettier Problem. He suggested two examples of cases where an agent could have "justified true belief," but could not be said to have knowledge.
Did Gettier himself propose that the three elements be called justified, true, and belief? In Greek, justified meant to provide an "account" logos , true was "right," and belief was merely "opinion.
Similar embarrassments for analytic language philosophy are the cleverly worded examples of " Frankfurt cases " designed to deny alternative possibilities , which attempts to deny the essential first stage in the two-stage model of free will.
Philosophers have tried to correct the idea of justification, of rational explanations, of good reasons, of evidence for the belief.
But other philosophers continue to generate Gettier counter -examples to deny the existence of "true belief" or certain knowledge.
Analysis vol. The attempts have often been such that they can be stated in a form similar to the following:1 a S knows that P IFF i P is true, ii S believes that P, and iii S is justified in believing that P. Ayer has stated the necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge as follows:3 c S knows that P IFF i P is true, ii S is sure that P is true, and iii S has the right to be sure that P is true.
I shall argue that a is false in that the conditions stated therein do not constitute a sufficient condition for the truth of the proposition that S knows that P.
I shall begin by noting two points. Keeping these two points in mind, I shall now present two cases in which the conditions stated in a are true for some proposition, though it is at the same time false that the person in question knows that proposition. Case I: Suppose that Smith and Jones have applied for a certain job.
And suppose that Smith has strong evidence for the following conjunctive proposition: d Jones is the man who will get the job, and Jones has ten coins in his pocket. Proposition d entails: e The man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket.
Let us suppose that Smith sees the entailment from d to e , and accepts e on the grounds of d , for which he has strong evidence.
In this case, Smith is clearly justified in believing that e is true. But imagine, further, that unknown to Smith, he himself, not Jones, will get the job. And, also, unknown to Smith, he himself has ten coins in his pocket. Proposition e is then true, though proposition d , from which Smith inferred e , is false. In our example, then, all of the following are true: i e is true, ii Smith believes that e is true, and iii Smith is justified in believing that e is true.
Let us imagine, now, that Smith has another friend, Brown, of whose whereabouts he is totally ignorant. Smith selects three place names quite at random and constructs the following three propositions: 7. Either Jones owns a Ford, or Brown is in Boston. Either Jones owns a Ford, or Brown is in Barcelona. Each of these propositions is entailed by f. Imagine that Smith realizes the entailment of each of these propositions he has constructed by f , and proceeds to accept g , h , and i on the basis of f.
Smith has correctly inferred g , h , and i from a proposition for which be has strong evidence. Smith is therefore completely justified in believing each of these three propositions, Smith, of course, has no idea where Brown is. But imagine now that two further conditions hold. First Jones does not own a Ford, but is at present driving a rented car. And secondly, by the sheerest coincidence, and entirely unknown to Smith, the place mentioned in proposition h happens really to be the place where Brown is.
If these two conditions hold, then Smith does not know that h is true, even though i h is true, ii Smith does believe that h is true, and iii Smith is justified in believing that h is true. The same cases, with appropriate changes, will suffice to show that neither definition b nor definition c do so either. Plato seems to be considering some such definition at Theaetetus , and perhaps accepting one at Meno Roderick M. For Teachers.
History[ edit ] The question of what constitutes "knowledge" is as old as philosophy itself. Gettier himself was not actually the first to raise the problem named after him; its existence was acknowledged by both Alexius Meinong and Bertrand Russell , the latter of which discussed the problem in his book Human knowledge: Its scope and limits. In fact, the problem has been known since the Middle Ages , and both Indian philosopher Dharmottara and scholastic logician Peter of Mantua presented examples of it. Alice thus has an accidentally true, justified belief.