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AN APPRAISAL OF EDMUND GETTIER’S CRITIQUE OF KNOWLEDGE AS “JUSTIFIED TRUE BELIEF

  • Type:Project
  • Chapters:4
  • Pages:73
  • Methodology:Critical and Analytic method
  • Reference:YES
  • Format:Microsoft Word
(Philosophy Project Topics & Materials)
AN APPRAISAL OF EDMUND GETTIER’S CRITIQUE OF KNOWLEDGE AS “JUSTIFIED TRUE BELIEF”
ABSTRACT

This work is an appraisal based on Edmund Gettier’s problem with the traditional account of knowledge which states that the basic conditions of knowledge is justification, truth and belief (JTB). This definition of knowledge is credited to Plato in his Theatetus. In 1963, Gettier arose to pose scenarios that challenge the tripartite conditions of knowledge, presumably proving that the conditions could amount to sheer luck and not true and certain knowledge.
Gettier’s examples led to various proposals on what knowledge should entail, which implies that it is either the case that the JTB account be totally abandoned or a Fourth Condition be added to make the others more sufficient. Other responses to Gettier will be examined in the course of this research. The Gettier problem has been proven to be a rather difficult one in the course of epistemological inquiry and this work tries to unravel the key issues.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE:  INTRODUCTION
1.1    The background of the study    
1.2    The statement of the problem    .    
1.3    The significance of the study    .    .
1.4    Purpose of the study    .    .
1.5    Scope of the study    .    .
1.6    Methodology    .
1.7    Literature review    .
Notes and References
CHAPTER TWO: THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE
2.1     What is knowledge?    
2.2     Plato’s theory of knowledge
2.3    Knowledge as “Justified True Belief”         
Notes and References        
CHAPTER THREE: EDMUND GETTIER’S CRITIQUE OF KNOWLEDGE AS “JUSTIFIED TRUE BELIEF”
3.1     Gettier’s life, works and influences    
3.2     The Gettier problem in epistemology    
3.3     Concerns and implications of Gettier’s theory
Notes and References.    
CHAPTER FOUR: CRITICAL EVALUATION
4.1     Summary of the main points    .
4.2     Negative Responses to Gettier    .
4.3     Positive Responses to Gettier    .
4.4     Possible Solutions to the Gettier problem        
4.5     Conclusion    .    
    Notes and References     
    Bibliography     
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1    THE BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The traditional account of knowledge as propounded by Plato as “justified true belief” suffices as the necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge. This involves three key components namely justification, truth and belief. The formulation holds that three conditions are necessary and jointly sufficient for knowledge. Firstly, there are beliefs which imply that one does not know something unless he holds it as true in the mind, if you do not believe it then you do not know it.1 Secondly, we have truth which means that there can be no knowledge of false propositions; belief in a false hood is delusion or misapprehension, not knowledge2and thirdly, there is justification which means that the belief must be appropriately supported; there must be sufficient evidence or argument for the belief.3
Thus to claim that “all doctors are professionals”, one has to believe it, the statement has to be true and there has to be sufficient evidence or arguments to claim its truth. This implies that knowledge is a three-legged stool which cannot stand when any of its legs are removed. This can be well examined in a situation of lack of belief, truth or justification.
A lack of truth disqualifies knowledge. The pre-Copernican belief  (justified at a time) that heavenly bodies moved around a stationary earth is false, and is thus knowledge, even if educated persons of that time operated under the misapprehension that it was. Also, a lack of justification preludes knowledge. If a fortune teller informs Alice that she will meet the man of her dreams within a month, then this proposition is not knowledge for Alice, even if she believes it and it actually happens. The “justified true belief” conditions of knowledge as proposed by Plato in the Theatetus do not elude critical analysis. This account was accepted by most philosophers at the time, most prominently the epistemologist, Clarence Irving Lewis and his student, Roderick Chisholm. For some time, the justified true belief (JTB) account was widely agreed to capture the nature of knowledge.
However, in 1963, Edmund Gettier published a short widely influential article which has shaped much subsequent work in epistemology. He is reputed to have questioned a theory of knowledge that had been dominant among philosophers for thousands of years.4 Gettier argues that there are situations in which one’s belief may be justifiable while not qualifying as knowledge.5 The counter examples as presented by Gettier are those of beliefs that seem to have justification in their belief, and inferences based on those beliefs turn out to be true by some degree of chance. One of such examples by Gettier is;
1.    Smith and Jones and the job
Smith believes (justifiably) of Jones that
a)    He will get the job
b)    He has 10 coins in his pocket
As a result, Smith believes
c)    The man who has 10 coins in his pocket will get the job.
C is true, but not because Jones is that man, rather, because Smith as both 10coins and the job in hand6.Smith is justified in believing both A and B, even though they are false, he is still justified, but he does not know it. This project seeks to cover up most of the responses to Gettier on both positive and negative sides.
1.2     THE STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
           Epistemology is basically the study ofthe theory of knowledge. The concept of knowledge thus has generated many propositions as to what exactly we can identify as knowledge.
Thus, Plato tried to give an answer to this by supplying us with the concept of “justified true belief” in the Theatetus which was a dialogue between Socrates and Theatetus. A problem arose when Gettier came up with some counter examples that sought to virtually oppose the JTB conditions of knowledge. Is Gettier absolutely correct and without criticisms? Does Gettier’s analysis lead to a total destruction of the JTB system or is it simply a reformation? Would there be an addition to the tripartite conditions for knowledge? All these questions would be addressed in this project.
1.3    THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
  A major significance of this research is that it exposes one to the concept of knowledge. The study enables us to proffer and ascertain certain conditions as to what can be classified as necessary or sufficient conditions for knowledge.
Also, this study aims at studying the lapses evident in the Gettier problem.
1.4     THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to critically analyze Edmund Gettier’s critique of the JTB condition for knowledge as proposed by Plato. It is basically intended towards serving as philosophical enquiry into one of its most important branches-epistemology, as knowledge is applied in our everyday activities. This work seeks to analyze and synthesize critically the fundamental conditions for knowledge, and also provide new solutions.
1.5     THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this work is limited to an appraisal of Edmund Gettier’s Is justified true belief knowledge?  in response to Plato’s Theatetus  which would form the basic line of concentration in this study. Different responses from various philosophers would also be analyzed, as efforts will be made to create a critical analysis of Edmund Gettiers’s paper.
1.6     METHODOLOGY
The method of this work is critical analysis. This work will begin with an analysis of Plato’s conditions for human knowledge; several arguments either supporting or disapproving these conditions would also be noted. However, Edmund Getttier would be the main focus as this project deals with his critique of the JTB conditions.
The instruments to be used include source documents and materials both from the internet and the library. Some interviews may be conducted in order to put Gettier’s study of the JTB issue in proper perspective.
LITERATURE REVIEW
The first book to be reviewed is The Theatetus written by a prestigious philosopher Plato, published by Hazell Watson Press in 1960. This book contained a dialogue between Socrates and a young boy- Theatetus. The dialogue is devoted to the question “what is knowledge (episteme)?” This dialogue, though not an early one, has the structure usual for a Socratic dialogue: the protagonist (Theatetus- a young brilliant mathematician) offers a series of definitions, all in turn are rejected by Socrates, and the drama ends with a proclamation of ignorance9. However, they concluded that the three sufficient conditions for knowledge are Justification, Truth and Belief. These served as necessary conditions for many years.
Another work to be reviewed is the paper written by Edmund Gettier titled:  Is justified true belief knowledge?” in 1963. This three paged paper ended up creating a new turn to epistemological discourse in philosophy. Here, Gettier argued against the tripartite conditions for knowledge, and he buttressed his points by issuing some counter-examples. This is the basis for this work.
The third book under review is Justified False Beliefs and Truth as a redundant condition by Steve Tensmeyer in 2010. This journal helped give an adequate response to the Gettier problem. Tensmeyer argued against the validity of Gettier’s counter-examples and then classified truth as an object of redundancy. He also advocated for a fourth condition for knowledge, “we must add some conditions to justification and belief that necessarily entails truth”.10
The fifth book to be reviewed is The concept of knowledge by Colin Mcginn in 1984. In his book, Colin Mcginn suggests that knowledge is atomic (it is not divisible into smaller components). We have knowledge when we have knowledge, and an accurate definition of knowledge may even contain the word “knowledge”12. This can as well serve as a critique of Edmund Gettier’s counter examples in relation to the tripartite conditions of knowledge.
The sixth book that would be reviewed in this study is surrounded on Robert Nozick written by David Schmidtz in 2002. It entails most of Nozick’s views on epistemology as written in his Philosophical investigations (1981). He put forward an epistemological system which attempted to deal with both the Gettier problem and those posed by skepticism. This highly influential argument eschewed justification as a necessary requirement for knowledge.13 He also introduced a third and fourth condition for knowledge, which are counterfactuals.
However, many journals would be reviewed, as most responses to Gettier are journals written by contemporary philosophers and scholars. Some of which are On the Gettier Problem by William Lycan, Justified True Belief by Brett Watson, Defending Gettier examples by R. Almeder and a lot of other related journals.
In the next chapter, we would have a look at the problem of knowledge and the JTB account of knowledge.
Notes and References
1.    B. Russell Human Knowledge: its scope and limits New York: Simon and Schuster, 1948 p.251.
2.    J. Nagel “Intuitions and Experiments: A defense of the case method in epistemology” Philosophy Research vol. 25, 2001p.425.
3.    R. Almeder “Defending Gettier counter examples” Australian Journal of Philosophy vol.15, 1983p.206.
4.      Ibid,p.4.
5.    E. Gettier “Is Justified True Belief knowledge?” Analysis 23: Roth and Galis 1970 p.121.
6.    J. Weinberg, S. Nichols, S. Stich “Normativity and epistemic intuitions” Philosophical Topics Vol. 29, 2001 p.429.
7.    Ibid, p.432.
8.    A. Kenny A New History of Western philosophy: Oxford, Oxford university press, 2007 p.126.
9.     S. Tensmeyer Justified True Belief and truth as a redundant condition London: Prometheus, 2010 p.55.
10.     G.H.R Parkinson An Encyclopaedia of Philosophy London: Routledge press, 1996.p. 36.
11.     C. Mcginn “The concept of knowledge” Midwest Studies in PhilosophyVol.9, issue1, 984 p.529.
12.     D. Schmidtz Robert Nozick Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. p.173.

AN APPRAISAL OF EDMUND GETTIER’S CRITIQUE OF KNOWLEDGE AS “JUSTIFIED TRUE BELIEF

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Type Project
Department Philosophy
Project ID PHI0147
Price ₦3 ($0)
Chapters 4 Chapters
No of Pages 73 Pages
Methodology Critical and Analytic method
Reference YES
Format Microsoft Word

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    Details

    Type Project
    Department Philosophy
    Project ID PHI0147
    Price ₦3 ($0)
    Chapters 4 Chapters
    No of Pages 73 Pages
    Methodology Critical and Analytic method
    Reference YES
    Format Microsoft Word

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