Which philosopher first presented the Gettier problem?
What is the JTB account of knowledge?
What is the main challenge presented by the Gettier problem?
What is the 'no false premises' solution to the Gettier problem?
What is the 'JTB+G' analysis?
What is pragmatism?
What is the subjunctive or truth-tracking account of knowledge?
What is the main criticism of the JTB account of knowledge?
What has experimental philosophy shown about the Gettier problem?
The Gettier problem is a philosophical problem that challenges the long-held justified true belief (JTB) account of knowledge. The JTB account holds that knowledge is equivalent to justified true belief. In his 1963 paper titled "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?", Edmund Gettier attempts to illustrate by two counterexamples that there are cases where individuals can have a justified, true belief regarding a claim but still fail to know it. The term "Gettier problem" is sometimes used to describe any case that repudiates the JTB account of knowledge. The question of what constitutes "knowledge" is as old as philosophy itself. Gettier himself was not the first to raise the problem named after him. The JTB account of knowledge is the claim that knowledge can be conceptually analyzed as justified true belief. Gettier's paper used counterexamples to argue that the JTB account of knowledge is false, and thus a different conceptual analysis is needed to correctly track what we mean by "knowledge". Responses to Gettier's paper have been numerous. Some reject Gettier's examples as inadequate justification, while others seek to adjust the JTB account of knowledge and blunt the force of these counterexamples. The "no false premises" solution which was proposed early in the discussion has been criticized. Truth, belief, and justifying have not yet been satisfactorily defined. The most common direction for this sort of response to take is what might be called a "JTB+G" analysis: that is, an analysis based on finding some fourth condition—a "no-Gettier-problem" condition—which, when added to the conditions of justification, truth, and belief, will yield a set of necessary and jointly sufficient conditions. One such response is that of Alvin Goldman (1967), who suggested the addition of a causal condition.Understanding the Gettier Problem
- The Gettier problem is a philosophical challenge to the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief.
- The problem was first presented by philosopher Edmund Gettier in 1963, who gave counterexamples of situations in which someone has a justified true belief, but it is not knowledge.
- The Gettier problem has led to a series of attempts to revise the traditional definition of knowledge, such as adding a fourth condition to the JTB analysis or adopting a causal response.
- Pragmatism was developed as a philosophical doctrine by C.S. Peirce and William James and defines truth as that which works in the way of belief.
- Another account of knowledge, developed by Fred Dretske and revived by Robert Nozick as the subjunctive or truth-tracking account, posits that a proposition is knowledge when it is true and the subject has a good reason to believe it.
- Criticisms of the JTB account have led to anti-reductionist accounts that analyze epistemological terms like justification, evidence, and certainty in terms of a primitive notion of knowledge.
- Richard Kirkham has proposed skepticism about knowledge, arguing that there will always be a counterexample to any definition of knowledge in which the believer's evidence does not logically necessitate the belief.
- Attempts to dissolve the problem include accepting that the traditional definition of knowledge is flawed or finding a way to defuse Gettier's counterexamples.
- Experimental philosophy has shown that people from different cultures share similar intuitions about the Gettier problem.
- The Gettier problem continues to be a topic of debate and research in philosophy.
Test your knowledge of epistemology with our quiz on the Gettier problem! This philosophical problem challenges the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief, and has led to numerous attempts to revise the definition. Our quiz will cover the history of the problem, responses to it, and alternative accounts of knowledge. See how much you know about this important topic in philosophy!
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