Sunday, November 16, 2008

More E = K

It's also worth remembering that there's not much that's new under the sun. According to Williamson, E = K. Assuming that 'knows' is factive, we get E --> T. There was a time when some thought that Gettier's examples were defective because they assumed the principle that someone can be justified in accepting a proposition, h, on evidence p even if p is false. Clearly, the thought was that evidence can justify only if it consists of true propositions. The problem with this, as Feldman pointed out long ago in his, "An Alleged Defect in Gettier-Counter Examples" is that even if the principle is true, there are still counterexamples to the JTB analysis. He gives examples in which there's a justified belief that is true, that doesn't constitute knowledge, and that doesn't derive from a false belief.


James A. Gibson said...


Have you seen Michael Levin's Erkenntnis (2006) article, "Gettier Cases Without False Lemmas?" Here's a replication of the opening.

"Gettier cases were first blamed on false lemmas. No wonder; the original examples play on errors luckily leading to truth. Thus, Jones’ bogus car key leads Smith to infer the falsehood that Jones owns a new car, from which Smith infers the truth (made true by Brown’s recent purchase of a car) that someone in his office owns a new car. So perhaps Gettier cases essentially involve justification by falsehood.

"By the mid-1970’s, however, this diagnosis had come to be rejected because of cases devised by Feldman and others that seemed thoroughly Gettier yet free of false lemmas, what I’ll call ‘‘no-false’’ cases. Indeed, that there are no-false Gettier cases has become textbook orthodoxy; the Pojman, Moser, and Bernecker and Dretske anthologies present Feldman’s 1974 article as the latest if not last word on the subject. But that is a mistake – an important one, given how much current epistemology presumes the robustness of the Gettier phenomenon. Feldman cases all involve an inference from error. Of course, establishing this much would not automatically rehabilitate the justified-true-belief paradigm; there are other cases alleged to be JTB without knowledge – one thinks of red barns and unaccessed defeaters – that raise distinct issues, not least whether they really do exemplify ignorance. I touch on some of these in IV and V."

Clayton said...

No, but I'll be reading it this week. Thanks, James.

I was thinking that while E = K might force us to say that some Gettier cases aren't Gettier cases (might, but not likely) there are fake barn cases that seem to involve no false beliefs.

Good tip, I appreciate it.