There have been many attempts over the years to try and define what constitutes knowledge. Up until the early 1960's, the general consensus was that the tripartite analysis of knowledge was correct. However, it is now widely accepted that this is not the case, due to the work of Edmund Gettier (Analysis 23, 1967). However, although Gettier pioneered the way forward in the analysis of knowledge, he did not offer a satisfactory attempt to correct the tripartite analysis. In this essay I will try to show how Gettier exposes the flaws within the tripartite analysis. I will also show why I believe Gettier's answer to be incomplete, looking at an attempt to add to his ideas. The best attempt to correct or add to the Gettier analysis is by Alvin Goldman. (1967). He proposes a causal theory of knowledge, which I will look at later on.
[...] Gettier uses what are now known as ‘Gettier counter-examples' to show the someone can be without knowledge even if they both believe something, are justified in believing that thing, and that thing is true. I will propose an example similar to case 1 in Gettier's original article in 1963. The example is as follows: suppose that Tom and Steve both want to buy a particular car of which there is only one available. And also suppose that Tom has very strong evidence for the following proposition: Steve is the man who will get the car, and Steve has six pounds in his wallet. [...]
[...] Goldman does a very similar thing for knowledge of testimony, but because it is so similar to the previous case I will not go into detail about it. Instead, I will move on to look at the first of the objections or concerns that has sometimes been raised to Goldman's theory, and his way of countering it. The objection is that it seems for S to know that fact that p must be the cause of the belief that p. [...]
[...] It would be a wasteful exercise to try, and it is much more productive to try and come up with a theory of knowledge than simply doubt everything. The last, and perhaps the most forceful objection made against Goldman's theory is that made by Baergan (Contemporary Epistemology p119). He says that Goldman's theory is too strong, because it does not allow for knowledge of abstract objects, because they cannot be involved in any causation whatsoever. This would include things such as numbers, pure sets or possible worlds. [...]
[...] Goldman's strategy consists of considering a number of differing sorts of knowledge claims and showing how causal connections of the appropriate sort can help us distinguish knowledge claims from what we might call cases of "Gettier luck." Such a causal connection would stop the Gettier example I used earlier from being a problem. If there were a causal connection between proposition being true, and Tom's evidence for believing in then Tom really would have a case of knowledge. For instance, if he believed in because he knew Steve could not afford the car, and so he would be getting it, and that he could feel six pound coins in his pocket. [...]
[...] But just by looking at the vase, S would not have knowledge because there would not be a relevant causal chain between their belief that there is a vase and there actually being a vase. In my opinion, this seems to be a good way to describe perceptual knowledge. Goldman now moves on to show that knowledge through memory is also a causal process. Goldman says of knowledge through memory that remembers p at time t only if S's believing p at an earlier time is a cause of his believing p at (Goldman p360). [...]
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