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Knowledge and Justified True Belief Know-how Prior to Edmund Gettier


Prior to Edmund Gettier, philosophers believed that knowledge was equivalent to justified true belief. Since Plato, it had generally been agreed amongst philosophers there are three criteria of propositional knowledge, independently necessary and jointly sufficient (Pryor, 2006, Cushing, 2000). Prior to Gettier beliefs, the following JTB Analysis (justification, truth, and belief) formed the basis from the theory of knowledge:

  • “S knows that P iff: G is true (truth criterion)
  • H believe that G (belief criterion)
  • S can be justified in believing G (justification criterion)

A vintage example of the above mentioned proposition would be the one by Carl Ginet on artificial barns.

One is driving through rural Pennsylvania where there are several fake barns: mere wood made fronts that look like barns from the road. The person driving through is unaware of this and has no reason to think it. As anybody looks off to her or his right, and sees something that looks like a barn, in that case that person believes, “That’s a barn. As a matter of fact, it is a barn, since it is one of the few barns in the region which is not a artificial. But that person could just be blessed. If she or he had looked over a imitation barn instead, then they would have thought that it was a barn (Pryor, 2005).

In cases like this then it would appear that the individual’s belief that he or she drove by a barn is definitely justified or perhaps reasonable due to the fact it looks like a barn as well as the person has not been informed which the region was full of false barns. Then in cases like this, the person’s idea is also the case. Then again the question is if that person knows that he or she is driving a car by a barn (Pryor, 2005). It seems after that that validated true opinion is not sufficient pertaining to knowledge. It is this kind of theory that Edmund Gettier is criticizing.


Gettier’s main objection is to the claim that validated true belief is sufficient for knowledge. He provided examples in which the subject provides a justified authentic belief which in turn intuitively fails to count while knowledge (Pryor, 2005). He does not question perhaps the three requirements are each necessary. Rather, what Gather delivers is that these kinds of propositions aren’t jointly enough. Basically, Gettier provides that we may justifiably consider the true proposition P although not always know G (Cushing, 2000).

In his idea, Gettier (1963) makes two important details. 1st, the idea wherein S is justified in trusting P is known as a necessary current condition of S’s knowing that P can be open to the possibility that a person is justified in thinking a task that is actually false.

The second point is that for any proposition P, in the event that S is definitely justified in believing S, and S entails Q, and S i9000 deduces Queen from G and accepts Q as a result of this deductions, then H is justified in trusting Q (Gettier, 1963). Stated in another way, these two items represent two assumptions: 1) it is possible somebody to be validated in thinking something bogus, and 2) if S is validated in believing P and P requires Q, then S can be justified in believing Queen (Cushing, 2000).

A classic Gettier example to illustrate these two points or perhaps assumptions would be the one about the Kia car. Suppose a person called Smith provides a justified beliefthat an individual in his business office owns a Ford. It is also true, as a matter of fact, that someone in the office does without a doubt own a Ford. However , Smith’s facts for his belief problems Jones, by his business office, who since it turns out will not own a Honda. Smith’s belief that someone in the office owns a Ford is valid because somebody else in the office possesses a Kia (not Jones).

The person who have in fact owns a Kia is actually, for instance , called Darkish. Yet all of Smith’s evidence problems Jones, and never Brown, so that it seems that intuitively, Smith doesn’t know that somebody in his workplace owns a Ford. It would seem then that Johnson doesn’t understand, even though Johnson has a justified belief that someone has a Honda, and as it turns out, this opinion happens to be accurate (Pryor, 2005).

From the above example, it would seem that Smith contains a justified idea in a accurate proposition (in that someone in his office owns a Ford), although this is not to state that he has understanding of that proposition (since the owner of the Ford is Dark brown, not Jones, as Johnson thought). What Gettier (1963) as a result tells is the fact even if the three criterion consists of truth, belief, and reason are separately necessary for expertise, they are certainly not jointly satisfactory (Cushing, 2000). It had been widely named as the Gettier Issue (Pryor, 2005, Cushing, 2000, Stanford Encyclopedia of Beliefs, 2006).

Hence, the JTB Analysis, mentioned earlier on as the existing proposition before the Gettier trouble, does not express a sufficient state for somebody’s knowing the proposition (Gettier, 1963). In the model given for the Ford, the Gettier trouble arises due to proposition a person knows that someone owns a Ford based on facts that declines short of conviction. If perhaps knowledge needs absolutely certain evidence, then the person Smith inside the Ford example would not able to to know that someone owns a Honda. His (Smith’s) facts after all was not absolutely certain or infallible as they was wrong as to who have owned the Ford (Pryor, 2005).

Assuming that Gettier’s viewpoint is correct, then the possible solution to the Gettier problem after that would be that knowledge is justified authentic belief in which the reasoning where a person’s perception is based on does not proceed through virtually any false measures or falsity (Pryor, 2005). However , the Gettier examples does not need to involve virtually any inference, and so there may be situations of validated true perception in which the subject fails to possess knowledge although the S’s opinion that S is not really inferred via any falsehood.

The lesson from the Gettier problem then is that the justification condition alone cannot make certain that belief that may be true cannot be mistakenly identified as knowledge. Even a justified belief (which is idea based on very good evidence), could be true due to luck (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2006), such as the case in point on the Kia car where Smith’s belief that an individual owns a car is true in the sense that someone (Brown) really does indeed use a car, nevertheless Smith’s validated belief or good facts as to the somebody who owns the Ford basically pertains to another individual (Jones).

Let’s assume that Gettier is correct, a possible approach to working out a bank account of what knowledge can be. Knowledge is justified true idea absent fortune or crash. Gettier’s fourth condition to knowledge (on the absence of falsehood) is not essential as his cases indicate that a person can still keep hold of a true idea based on good fortune or car accident. The next criterion in the JTB Evaluation, on approval, itself needs that luck be omitted (Sudduth, 2005). Therefore, justified true belief could possibly be sufficient to get knowledge as long as you get rid of luck or perhaps accident.

Bottom line

According to Gettier (1963), justified true belief can easily fail to amount to knowledge. Justified true belief may not be sufficient intended for knowledge, and he further tells us that the three requirements of fact, belief, and justification are not jointly satisfactory. Gettier proposes one third condition, that true idea should not be depending on any falsity. Nevertheless , his idea involves the elements of good fortune or accident which allows the subject to hold on to a real belief. Thus, it would seem that justified true opinion may be sufficient for know-how providing fortune or accident are taken away from the justification criterion.


  • Cushing, Simon. (2000). Edmund Gettier: “Is Validated True Belief Knowledge? University of Michigan-Flint. Retrieved Nov 1, 2006 from
  • Gettier, Edmund L. (1963). Is definitely Justified Authentic Belief Knowledge? Analysis 23: 121-123. Transcribed into hypertext by Claire Chrucky, September 13, 1997. Recovered November one particular, 2006 via: http://www.ditext.com/gettier/gettier.html
  • Pryor, Jim. (Spring 2004). Theory of Knowledge ” The Gettier Problem. Princeton University. Recovered November you, 2006 coming from: http://www.jimpryor.net/teaching/courses/epist/notes/gettier.html
  • Sudduth, Michael. (2005). Justification and the Gettier Trouble. Doctor Michael Sudduth’s Philosophy Training Webpage. Retrieved November 1, 06
  • The Analysis of Knowledge. (January of sixteen, 2006). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved November 1, 2006 from: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-analysis/
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