The Classical Account of Knowledge, where knowledge is understood as a justified true belief was discussed in this week’s reading of Pritchard. In attempt to define knowledge, we must be able to see it from multiple aspects. So we consider the aspect where knowledge as a justified true belief. “Knowledge is to be understood as justified true belief, where a justification for one’s belief consists of good reasons for thinking that the belief in question is true” (Pritchard 28). This leads us to the JTB Account for Knowledge, which is an analysis that claims that justified true belief is necessary and sufficient for knowledge. Now if we accept this analysis of knowledge to be true, that raises even more concerns. What is truth? What is a proper justification for that truth? That is when Gettier comes along with an article that shows that the JTB Account for Knowledge may be false. With the use of logic, Gettier successfully proves that the consequent (P is true, S believes that P, and S is justified in believing P), is not jointly sufficient of the antecedent (if and only if S knows that P). “I shall argue that [the JTB Account of Knowledge] 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” (Gettier 345). Basically, he proved that one could have a justified, true belief and still lack the knowledge of one’s belief because that belief could have been obtained through luck (Pritchard 23).
On the other hand, there is another philosopher, Richard Feldman, who published an article, An Alleged Defect in Gettier Counter-Examples, that essentially describes how Gettier’s work was flawed: “I conclude that even if a proposition can be justified for a person only if his evidence is true, or only if he knows it to be true, there are still counter-examples to the justified true belief analysis of knowledge of the Gettier sort” (Feldman 69). He came to this conclusion with the help of many other researchers, in which Feldman too, agrees to conclude that Gettier came up with his conclusion using false evidence.
This all leads back to the big question: How does one begin to define knowledge? It is evident that this comes with great difficulty, also known as the problem of the criterion. This basically means that one is only able to identify circumstances of knowledge only if one knows the criteria for what knowledge is and one can only know what the criteria for knowledge is as long as one is able to identify specifics of that knowledge? Well, one can start by finding the common variable in all cases and then become able to ascertain what knowledge really is. But in the end, it can be concluded that one needs to understand knowledge in an entirely new way, where one cannot just simply believe in the truth of a question (Pritchard 29).
Other than the readings, I referred to:
Ichikawa, Jonathan and Steup, Matthias (2012) ‘The Analysis of Knowledge,’ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, < http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-anaylsis/>.