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Can Knowledge Be Characterised as Justified True Belief? What Would a Better Account of Knowledge Look like?

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  1. Introduction
  2. Obvious advantages to the theory
  3. The example of Tom
  4. The socurce of perceptual knowledge
  5. The causal chain involved in the reasoning process
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

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. [...]

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