Justifying Beliefs by Logical Implication Research Paper

Justifying Beliefs by Logical Implication
A description of the need for logical implication between a justification and a belief within a justified-true-belief theory of knowledge.
# 6372 | 3,530 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Feb 08, 2003 in Philosophy (Metaphysics) , Philosophy (Logic)

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An argument that for a justified true belief theory of knowledge to work, the justification component must be such that an acceptable justification logically implies the truth of the content of the belief. The paper first shows how weaker views of justification will always be susceptible to counterexamples like Gettier's and Feldman's. The paper then shows how the notion of justification defined above makes it impossible to have counterexamples and then make a case for why the strong view is appropriate, even given that it probably leads to skepticism. The nature of justification within a viable theory of knowledge needs to have the strength of logical implication, and as such may have to lead to skeptical considerations.

From the Paper:

"The characterization of knowledge as justified true belief is a very powerful concept, and despite the assorted difficulties that arise in definitions that equate knowledge with justified true belief, such definitions still seem the most intuitively plausible starting points for a theory of knowledge. It is fairly obvious that one cannot know that p if one does not believe that p, and it is equally indisputable that p has to be true for one to be able to know it. It is that whole "justified" bit that is the tricky part and that tends to mess things up for justified true belief (JTB) theories of knowledge. In this paper I hope to offer a characterization of justification within the framework of a JTB theory of knowledge that leads to a cohesive theory of what is required for one to have knowledge, one that is not subject to the loopholes and weaknesses that lead other JTB theories to incorrectly admit certain beliefs as knowledge. Specifically, I will claim that for one's belief that p to constitute knowledge that p, one's justification j for believing that p must be such that (i) j logically implies p, and (ii) every statement within the justification is true. I will argue that such a strong notion of justification is needed for a JTB theory to avoid being susceptible to counterexamples like those offered in Edmund Gettier's famous paper and elsewhere. Further, I will contend that for a JTB theory to work, the concept of justification must be such that in considerations of "justified beliefs," "justified" works, in the words of Peter Unger, as an absolute term. I will then use this later point to allay concerns, which are certainly valid, that the strong notion of justification I am presenting in this paper directly leads to skepticism."

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