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“Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” by Edmund Gettier Essay

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Describe the key lessons from the Gettier paper. What are the main lessons that the Gettier paper teaches us about the definition of knowledge as a justified true belief? Discuss the role of epistemic luck in relation to the Gettier paper.

In his paper, Gettier discusses the problem of the definition of knowledge while rejecting the traditional visions that knowledge is the justified true belief with the help of two cases in which the interdependence of such factors as truth, justification, and belief is discussed in order to conclude about the knowledge. Thus, Gettier proposes several counterarguments or counterexamples to the idea that knowledge is the justified true belief. Referring to the cases, Gettier is inclined to demonstrate that a person cannot have definite knowledge about something even if relying on the justified true beliefs and true propositions.

It is possible to focus on such lessons, which are presented by Gettier in his paper as the impossibility to conclude about the true knowledge with references to the true and justified beliefs reflected in cases and further true propositions. Gettier teaches that in spite of the fact that three necessary conditions such as belief, justification, and truth can be present at the same time and clearly observed by the person in relation to the certain case, these factors in their connection cannot provide the person with the clear or true knowledge because a lot of statements which result from analyzing these factors in their connection can lead to the false conclusions and, as a result, to the false knowledge.

Thus, referring to the cases provided in the paper written by Gettier, it is important to state that in spite of the fact that it is possible to speak about the justified true belief as it is reflected in the first case, it is impossible to hope that this belief will lead to understanding the true knowledge related to the concrete problem. From this point, Smith can rely or focus on the justified true belief, but he cannot receive the true knowledge that is why the statement that Smith knows the fact that the person with ten coins will receive the job position cannot be accepted as the true one. The situation can be described with references to the concept of the justified true belief, but the stated proposition or received knowledge is false. That is why Gettier rejects the developed definition of knowledge, according to which knowledge is traditionally discussed as the justified true belief.

The counterexamples proposed by Gettier in his paper are also correlated with the idea of epistemic luck. Thus, a person can have a true belief that is accidentally supported by evidence. The fact of the obvious support is necessary to state that the discussed belief is really true. However, the true believer cannot be discussed as true knowledge because the true belief is based not on evidence but on assumptions. In spite of the fact that sometimes there are true beliefs based on the correct assumptions, there are often false premises and assumptions which cannot lead to the true belief or to true knowledge. For instance, it is even impossible to speak about true knowledge when the person relies on epistemic luck while concluding about the definite phenomenon. As a result, following the cases presented in Gettier’s paper, it is possible to state that Smith relies on true beliefs and false premises rather than on concrete justifications. According to Gettier, the described examples are relevant to speak about epistemic luck but not about true knowledge.

Discuss the Problem of the Criterion. What exactly is the problem? Discuss Methodism and Particularism in relation to the Problem of the Criterion and point out at least one problem with both Methodism and Particularism.

The Problem of the Criterion can be defined as the impossibility to determine the set criteria to speak about the knowledge or to define it. Thus, to define the knowledge, for instance, to state that the knowledge is the justified true belief, it is necessary to refer to the definite criteria according to which the definition of the knowledge can be compared and contrasted with the measures typical for the justified true belief. From this perspective, to speak about the definition of knowledge, it is important to discuss the definite criteria according to which the process of defining the phenomenon can be realized. Thus, it is important to refer to the definite measurable aspects or instances on which the definition should be oriented. The problem is in the fact that these instances should also be determined with the help of definite criteria. As a result, the Problem of Criterion can seem to be unresolved at first sight.

It is almost impossible to decide what aspects should be discussed first if it is necessary to determine the criteria and instances for defining the knowledge. Thus, while trying to resolve the Problem of Criterion, philosophers proposed two opposite approaches to the solution. Discussing possible criteria to define the knowledge, a person can assume that he or she knows the criteria to conclude about the knowledge. As a result, this person can identify aspects or instances that can be discussed as credible to define knowledge. This approach is correlated with the ideas of Methodism because a person relies on the knowledge of criteria received with the help of reflection or thinking about these criteria, and this thinking can provide the criteria to choose the concrete instances according to which the knowledge can be defined. However, the problem associated with Methodism is the fact that the philosophical reflection or thinking cannot provide credible criteria for determining instances and for the process of defining the knowledge because people do not know if their conclusions received as a result of reflection are right because they the cannot be supported by any pieces of evidence. A person cannot rely only on reflection without the necessary support; thus, a person cannot rely on the reflection with the references to the necessary instances.

Nevertheless, a person can decide that he or she is able to determine and conclude about the particular instances, which can be used as credible to state the criteria and to define the knowledge. The focus on the instances of particular instances is characteristic of Particularism. According to the principles of Particularism, a person can determine the true and credible instances of knowledge in order to determine the criteria for knowledge. It is important to note that persons can only assume about possible instances to determine the criteria for knowledge because people do not know the criteria to identify and determine the instances themselves. As a result, it is possible to speak about the problem of Particularism, which is in need of criteria or additional factors to state what instances are really correlated with the true knowledge and what instances cannot be discussed as relevant in this situation. From this perspective, the assumptions proposed either by the followers of Methodism or by the followers of Particularism cannot be discussed as appropriate to resolve the Problem of Criterion.

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