Alvin Goldman What Is Justified True Belief

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Following Edmund Gettier's paper “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” epistemologists were left with critical questions about the adequacy of justified true belief as the definition of knowledge. Gettier illustrated scenarios where it seemed counterintuitive to say a person had knowledge, yet the person seemed to have a justified true belief. To move past the “Gettier Problem,” it appears that some additional criterion to justified true belief must be posited which avoids running into such troubling counterexamples. (Begby, 03 Feb.) Alvin Goldman in “What Is Justified Belief?” proposes a theory of justified belief that rejects internalist theories inspired by Cartesian epistemology, which argue that justification stems from factors within…show more content…
Furthermore, as it is not enough to simply list a set of standards for justification, the theory must uncover what it means for a belief to be justified. (90) Goldman claims that internalists, or those operating with “Cartesian” assumptions, have posited conditions for justification which diverge profoundly from the conditions implied by the everyday use of the word. (89) Descartes's thought was that a belief is justified if it is unclouded by prejudice or has not been arrived at too hastily. Assuming the believer meets these requirements, they lack epistemic blame and have justification for their belief, as God would not deceive them by confusing their perceptions. The justificational status of a belief relies heavily on the internal state of the believer, as well as the existence of an omnibenevolent God. (Begby, 17 Feb.) Though the internalists invoke no deity, Goldman suggests that they too erroneously assume justification to be held by the believer. He abandons the related assumptions that the believer necessarily knows their belief is justified, understands what constitutes this justification, or can provide a verbal account of this justification. The only supposition Goldman does employ is that a belief is justified not because of the believer's condition, but because of the specific process or…show more content…
However, the fact that he gives little attention to the concern seems to imply that he does not see it as a powerful threat to his position, and I am inclined to agree with him. The problem of generality only seems to apply if one is attempting to conceive of a theory that involves a completely unambiguous definition of justification, which Goldman is in no way obligated to provide. He explicitly stated that his objective is to capture the everyday concept of justification and, seeing as this concept itself is vague, it would be unfitting for his definition to be too specific. Goldman's critics, perhaps, are simply uncomfortable with the notion that justification ought to be explained in non-epistemic terms. However, seeing as justification is a concept that is utilized regularly in ordinary thought and not just by epistemologists in a purely academic setting, imposing a strict epistemological definition will prove unsatisfactory as it will never be applicable outside of the academy. The way that the term “justification” is used in commonplace circumstances requires that the cause of beliefs and reliability of these causal processes involved are examined. In the case of the Pope asserting “p,” our intuition tells us that the resulting belief from inferring “p” is unjustified not because of something within

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