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What is the problem with analysing knowledge as true justified belief?
Is there a better alternative?
The 'standard account of knowledge'1 as justified true belief has been one of the most enduring in the history of epistemology. In its most general terms, the concept of justified true belief runs that one has knowledge when one believes in the truth of a true fact, and when this belief is justified by a reasonable degree of evidence. The counter-examples of Edmund Gettier famously highlighted the flaws in this model of knowledge, and as such it will be an outline of these counter-examples that our discussion of 'the problem' of the analysis of knowledge as justified true belief will begin. Subsequently, we should consider the options available to the theorist of knowledge in light of Gettier's critique, including firstly whether the possibility exists that some adaptation or addition might rescue the 'JTB' analysis, but later, since it will become clear that the JTB analysis cannot be salvaged, alternative forms of knowledge-analysis. I will conclude that CONCLUSION The most basic analysis of knowledge as 'justified true belief' runs thus: S knows that P is true, if and only if (1) P is true, (2) S believes that P is true, (3) S has valid, justified grounds for believing P to be true. Such an account has been the model around which study of propositional knowledge has almost exclusively been done for a considerable period of time, and such an analysis was considered to be successful in its accounting for what constituted an instance of knowledge. The JTB analysis does indeed appear convincing, and intuitively close to what we might informally consider to be an instance of knowledge, since each of the three requirements does indeed appear appropriate. Naturally (1) is necessary, since what is not true is not known. Equally, (2) seems intuitive, since knowledge entails believing: when I say 'I know he is angry', my words entail the proposition 'I believe he is angry'. The classic counter-example to this assertion is that of a schoolboy who, having spent the previous night learning the dates of the English Kings, is so unsettled by his teacher's questioning that he loses faith in the answers that he gives, even though they are, as it turns out, correct. We should surely grant that this schoolboy does in fact know the 1 J Dancy, Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology (1985), Blackwell
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