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This work, written from a neo-Pyrrhonian perspective, is an examination of contemporary theories of knowledge and justification. It takes ideas primarily found in.
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- Robert J. Fogelin - Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge | Skepticism | Epistemology
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It seems to me that when justification is taken this way his counterexamples are completely decisive against the claim that knowledge equals justified true belief. If S can justifi ably believe something that is false, then it is easy, though it took Gettier to see this, to imagine S drawing an inference to a weaker proposition that is true, justifiably arrived at, but not knowledge.
A Second Interpretation of Justification There is, however, another way we can interpret the claim that S is justified in believing that P. The leading idea is that in saying S is justified in believing that P, we are not assessing the procedures S used in coming to his belief that P; we are, instead, evaluating the adequacy of SiS grounds for establishing the truth of P. In saying that.
S is justified in believing that P is true, we are saying that the grounds on which S accepts P establish the truth of P. This suggests a second way of interpreting the justification clause in the tradi tional account of knowledge. I'll call the clause read this way the iiig clause: iiig SiS grounds establish the truth of P. Note that in saying that S's grounds establish the truth of P, we are speaking about a relationship between a proposition that S accepts and the grounds on which he accepts it.
The iiig clause offers an assessment of SiS reasons or grounds , indicating that they are ade quate to establish the truth of a certain proposition. To appreciate the force of the idea that in making third-person epistemic judgments we are involved in an assessment of grounds and not simply commenting on a performance, it will help to imag ine ourselves actually investigating Gettier's claims.
That is, Gettier actually appears before us and tells us that there was a Smith, a Jones, and a president, and further tells us that they carried on in the way he describes. Treating the story as a real story makes a signifi cant difference in how we will deal with it. In particular, none of the items in the story is privileged in the sense of being immune to epis temic evaluation.
For example, as genuinely engaged, we have to decide whether to trust Gettier, for the story is, after all, rather strange. Perhaps he has left out important details. Perhaps he has the story wrong. Perhaps he made it up. These are matters that would naturally concern us in an actual situation. Noting them here helps bring us and our activity of assessing grounds into the picture.
To avoid the complexities of a Gettier case, we can first suppose that our investigations reveal that Gettier actually has the facts wrong. Contrary to what he has told us, things proceeded quite nor mally: the president was his usual reliable self, and Jones, who Smith somehow determined had ten coins in his pocket, received the pro motion.
When we confront Gettier with these facts, he admits that he distorted the story as a hoax having something to do with tenure. Once we have discovered all this, what shall we say about SiS belief that someone with ten coins in his pocket would get the promotion? First, it remains true that Smith was justified in coming to believe what he did; his performance was epistemically responsible. Beyond this, in this non-Gettier version of the story, we will further judge that his grounds were adequate to establish the truth of what he believes.
In saying that Smith was justified in believing what he did, we express our agreement with Smith. These reflections on this non-Gettier example may suggest that we read the clause iii S is justified in believing that P as saying iiig S's grounds or reasons establish the truth of P. But for reasons that will emerge later, we will not want to abandon what I have called the iiip clause in favor of a iiig clause, for both clauses are needed in a plausible account of knowledge claims.
The result is that the justification clause in the traditional doctrine that knowledge equals justified true belief is now seen to have two com ponents. The first concerns the manner in which S came to adopt a belief. This is the iiip clause, which demands that he do this in an epistemically responsible manner. The second concerns a relation ship between the proposition believed and the grounds on which it is believed.
This is the iiig clause, which demands that these grounds establish the truth of the proposition believed on their basis. Having developed the notion of a iiig clause through examining a non-Gettier example, we can now apply it to Gettier's first coun terexample to the traditional account of knowledge.
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It should be obvious that its inclusion immediately disposes of this counterex ample. To see this, we need only recall that Gettier's argument depended crucially on the truth of d : Smith is justified in believing that Jones is the man who will get the job, and Jones has ten coins in his pocket.
As noted, if this is interpreted as a remark about the propriety of Smith's performance, then the claim is true, and if the traditional analysis of knowledge demands no more than this for a belief to be justified, then Gettier's counterexample is decisive against it. If, on the other hand, it is interpreted as demanding-at least in part-that Smith's grounds justify the belief that Jones is the man who will get the job, and Jones has ten coins in his pocket then the claim is not true, and Gettier's counterexample fails.
I claim that in every version of the Gettier problems we will find this same situation: S will be justified in his belief, having come to it in a. At the same time, his grounds will not establish the truth of what he believes, so the iiig clause will not be satisfied. The first fact inclines us to say that S is justi fied in his belief, the second leads us to deny him knowledge even though his belief was justifiably arrived at and true. Isn't it, however, incoherent to grant that S has acted with epis temic responsibility in coming to believe P yet at the same time deny that his grounds establish the truth of that proposition?
Pyrrhonian Reflections On Knowledge And Justification
If S believes something on grounds that do not establish its truth, isn't that, by itself, enough to show that he has formed his belief irre sponsibly? In general the answer to that question is yes, and it is for this reason that the grounds clause is easily obscured by the perfor mance clause. The two clauses do, however, fall apart, that is, take different truth values, when we, who are trying to decide whether S knows or not, have access to a wider range of information than S does.
In such a situation we may sometimes grant that S has formed his belief responsibly even though his grounds do not establish the truth of what he has come to believe. This situation characterizes Gettier problems in all their manifestations, for they provide cases where S has justifiably i. To see in detail how this is possible, we must examine some of the basic features of so-called inductive reasoning. The Gettier Problems and Nonmonotonicity Our question is this: How can a person accept a belief on grounds that do not establish its truth, yet not be epistemically irresponsible in doing so?
I think we can answer this question, and get to the heart of the Gettier problems, by reflecting on a fundamental way in which inductive inferences differ from deductive inferences. It is commonly noted that in a valid deductive argument the truth of the premises necessitates the truth of the conclusion, whereas with inductive arguments this is not so. This is right, but insisting on this difference can place things in the wrong light. The Gettier problems do not, after all, depend on deductive chauvinism-the claim that the only good argument is a deductively sound argument.
For that matter, they do not depend on the device, sometimes attributed to skeptics, of introducing artificially high inductive standards and then rejecting all knowledge claims that fail to meet them. In Get tier examples, we allow S to use ordinary inductive procedures in. To sup pose otherwise is to rob Gettier examples of their real significance. For our purposes, it is useful to describe the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning from the following perspective: Adding further premises cannot convert a valid deductive argument into an invalid one, whereas adding further premises can degrade a strong inductive argument into a weak one.
Acquiring additional information can lead us to revise our opinion about the truth of a premise of a deductive argument, and then declare that an argument that we previously considered sound is, in fact, unsound. This difference is sometimes marked by saying that deduc tive inferences are monotonic whereas inductive inferences are non monotonic. More specifically, it is because of the nonmonotonicity of induc tive inferences that it is possible for someone to be epistemically responsible in coming to believe something on grounds that do not establish its truth. Given the information available to S, it might be completely responsible for him to suppose that his grounds establish the truth of what he believes on their basis.
He uses a standard pro cedure in a standard way, and nothing in the context suggests that he should not. Indeed, it might be irresponsible for him to show any more care than he does. There is, after all, something called being too careful. We, however, given a broader range of information, can see that his justificatory grounds are, in one way or another, under cut, though not in a way that S could be expected to recognize or take provision against. My suggestion, then, is that the central fea ture of Gettier's original examples is this: a Given a certain body of information, our subject S, using some standard procedure, justifiably comes to believe that a proposition, h, is true.
Information Possessed I think this double informational setting-this informational mis match between the evidence S is given and the evidence we are given-lies at the heart of Gettier problems. It is this informational mismatch that inclines us to say, quite correctly, that S justifiably came to believe something true, yet at the same time deny him knowledge because, as we see, his grounds do not justify this claim. If all this is correct, then it should be clear that the Gettier counterexamples have no force against the doctrine that knowledge is justified true belief when justification has at least the force of what I have called the iiig clause.
Furthermore, I think the same diagno sis holds for all the many intricate variations of the Gettier prob lems. They all depend on an informational mismatch that allows the iiip and iiig clauses to fall apart. I will sketch this claim in a gen eral way next, and defend it in more detail in succeeding chapters. Variations on the Gettier Problems Gettier's original examples have had offspring, l O many of them nar rowly tailored to refute specific analyses of knowledge.
Without wor rying about fine details, I will divide Gettier-like counterexamples into two broad categories: I. Those that employ a normally sound justificatory procedure in a context where it is not, in fact, reliable, then arrive at some thing true by drawing a conclusion weaker than normally war ranted by this procedure.
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Those that employ a normally sound justificatory procedure in a context where it is not, in fact, reliable, then arrive at a nor mal strong true conclusion by good fortune. For ease of reference, I'll call examples that fall into the first category weakening-inference examples, and those that fall into the second category epistemic-luck examples. These labels are not entirely apt since, in a sense, all Gettier examples involve epistemic luck, but they should serve well enough to mark the salient features of these two sorts of Gettier examples.
Gettier's original cases fall paradigmatically into the first cate gory, since they involve an inference from a justified false belief to a weaker belief that turns out to be true. In reply, critics responded, quite reasonably, that one cannot justify something on the basis of a belief that is false. To get around this, a new set of counterexamples appeared that were like Gettier's except that S does not rely on any. Thus the first category can be divided into two subcategories: la. On the basis of a normally sound justificatory procedure, S arrives at a justified but false belief and then arrives at some thing true by explicitly drawing a conclusion weaker than nor mally warranted by this procedure.
Robert J. Fogelin - Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge | Skepticism | Epistemology
On the basis of a normally sound justificatory procedure, S arrives at something true by drawing a conclusion weaker than normally warranted by this procedure, without, however, explicitly relying on a premise that is false. As far as I know, Keith Lehrer was the first writer to present a clear example of this second kind. It will be helpful to develop his exam ple in stages. In "Knowledge, Truth, and Evidence, " ll Lehrer introduced a Gettier-type example that has enjoyed a robust, if ever-changing, career. I see two men enter my office whom I know to be Mr.
Nogot and Mr. I have just seen Mr. Nogot depart from a Ford, and he tells me that he has just purchased the car. Indeed, he shows me a certificate that states that he owns a Ford. Moreover, Mr. Nogot is a friend of mine whom I know to be honest and reliable. On the basis of this evidence, I would be completely justified in believing: PI: Mr.