Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? Author(s): Edmund L. Gettier Source: Analysis, Vol. 23, No. 6 (Jun., 1963), pp.
121-123 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Committee Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3326922 Accessed: 25/08/2009 10:55
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ARIOUS attemptshave been madein recentyearsto statenecessary and sufficient conditionsfor someone'sknowing a given proposition. of Knowledge. (ii) S believes that P. and (iii) S has the right to be sure that P is true. and perhaps accepting one at Meno98. for any proposition P. and P is true. The same argument will show that (b) and (c) fail if 'has adequateevidence for' or 'has the right to be sure that' is substituted for 'is justifiedin believing that' throughout. 2 Roderick M. The Problem Macmillan (London. 1956). p. I shall now present two cases
1 Plato seems to be considering some such definition at Theaetetus201. 1957). in that sense of' justified' in which S's being justifiedin believing P is a necessarycondition of S's knowing that P. 3 A. it is possible for a person to be justifiedin believing a proposition that is in fact false. 34.then S is justifiedin believing Q.TEFKNOWLEDGE?
IS JUST1IFIED TRUE BFJ. Perceiving: Study. Chisholm has held that the following gives the necessary and sufficientconditions for knowledge:2 (b) S knows that P IFF
(i) S acceptsP.Cornell University Press (Ithaca. (ii) S is sure that P is true. and S deduces Q from P and acceptsQ as a result of this deduction. Keeping these two points in mind. J. Secondly. Ayer. The attempts have often been such that they can be stated in a form similarto the following :1 IFF (a) S knows that P (i) P is true. (ii) S has adequateevidence for P. and P entails Q. 16.
I shall argue that (a) is false in that the conditions stated therein do not constitute a suffcientcondition for the truth of the proposition that S knows that P. 121
. and (iii) S is justifiedin believing that P. For example. p. First. if S is justifiedin believing P. (iii) Ayer has stated the necessaryand sufficientconditionsfor knowledge as follows :3 (c) S knows that P IFF (i) P is true.ANALYSIS
23. a Philosophical Chisholm. I shall begin by noting two points.
unknown to Smith. (ii) Smith believes that (e) is true. all of the following are true: (i) (e) is true. Smith'sevidence might be that Jones has at all times in the past within Smith's memory owned a car. Smith selects three place-namesquite at random. will get the job. or Brown is in Boston.
. whom he falsely believes to be the man who will get the job. Let us supposethat Smithsees the entailmentfrom(d) to (e). Let us imagine. for (e) is true in virtue of the number of coins in Smith's pocket. CaseII: Let us suppose that Smith has strong evidence for the following proposition: (f) Jones owns a Ford. for which he has strong evidence.further. Proposition(d) entails: (e) The man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket. and always a Ford. and accepts (e) on the grounds of (d). he himself has ten coins in his pocket. not Jones. and bases his belief in (e) on a count of the coins in Jones's pocket. Proposition (e) is then true. and that Jones has just offered Smith a ride while driving a Ford. But it is equallyclear that Smith does not knowthat (e) is true. and (iii) Smith is justifiedin believing that (e) is true. CaseI: Suppose that Smith and Jones have appliedfor a certainjob. had counted the coins in Jones's pocket ten minutes ago. In this case. now. and Jones has ten coins in his pocket. also. In our example. is false. Brown. And suppose that Smith has strong evidence for the following conjunctive proposition: (d) Jones is the man who will get the job.then. from which Smith inferred(e).he himself. But imagine. though it is at the same time false that the person in question knows that proposition. and that he. And. Smith is clearlyjustifiedin believing that (e) is true. while Smith does not know how many coins are in Smith'spocket. Smith. though proposition (d). that Smith has another friend. of whose whereabouts he is totally ignorant. Smith's evidence for (d) might be that the president of the company assured him that Jones would in the end be selected. and constructsthe following three propositions: (g) Either Jones owns a Ford.122
in which the conditions stated in (a) are true for some proposition.that unknown to Smith.
The inductive rule under discussion is this: a widevariety R: To argue from Mostinstances under of As examined of been B to (probably)ThenextA to beencountered have conditions willbe B.
. will suffice to show that neither definition (b) nor definition(c) do so either. but is at presentdrivinga rentedcar. " The Circularityof a Self-Supporting Inductive Argument ". (ii) Smith does believe that (h) is true. the place mentionedin proposition(h) happensreallyto be the placewhereBrown is.And secondly. and proceeds to accept (g).and entirely unknown to Smith. and (i) on the basis of (f). R has been successful. If these two conditions hold then Smith does not know that (h) is true. First. has no idea where Brown is. These two examplesshow that definition(a) does not state a sufficient condition for someone's knowing a given proposition. The argumentin favour of the rule is as follows: (a): In most instancesof the use of R in argumentswith truepremisses examinedin a wide variety of conditions. DECENTLY1 I suggested why an argument proposed by Max \ Black.R will be successful. ANALYSIS. The same cases. Each of these propositionsis entailedby (f).
22. with appropriatechanges. by the sheerest coincidence. Smith. Smith is therefore completely justified in believing each of these three propositions. (h). Imaginethat Smithrealizes the entailmentof each of these propositions he has constructedby (f). (h). Smith has correctlyinferred(g). even though (i) (h) is true. Jones does notown a Ford. of course. Hence (probably): In the next instanceto be encounteredof use of R in an argument with a true premiss. or Brown is in Barcelona.CIRCULARITY
(h) Either Jones owns a Ford. which attempts to support an inductive rule by citing its past success. suffers from circularity. or Brown is in Brest-Litovsk. and (iii) Smith is justifiedin believing that (h) is true. (i) Either Jones owns a Ford.6 (June 1962). and (i) from a proposition for which he has strong evidence. But imagine now that two further conditions hold. State University Wayne
By PETER ACHINSTEIN