Stanford Thesis On Demand

Even a necessary biconditional linking knowledge to some state j would probably not be sufficient for an analysis of knowledge, although just what more is required is a matter of some controversy.According to some theorists, to analyze knowledge is literally to identify the components that make up knowledge—compare a chemist who analyzes a sample to learn its chemical composition.The analysis of knowledge concerns the attempt to articulate in what exactly this kind of “getting at the truth” consists.

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In a weak sense, one might “believe” something by virtue of being pretty confident that it’s probably true—in this weak sense, someone who considered Clinton the favourite to win the election, even while recognizing a nontrivial possibility of her losing, might be said to have “believed” that Clinton would win.

Outright belief is stronger (see, e.g., Fantl & Mc Grath 2009: 141; Nagel 2010: 413–4; Williamson 2005: 108; or Gibbons 2013: 201.).

In practice, many epistemologists engaging in the project of analyzing knowledge leave these metaphilosophical interpretive questions unresolved; attempted analyses, and counterexamples thereto, are often proposed without its being made explicit whether the claims are intended as metaphysical or conceptual ones.

In many cases, this lack of specificity may be legitimate, since all parties tend to agree that an analysis of knowledge ought to be extensionally correct in all metaphysically possible worlds.

In fact, however, the JTB analysis was first articulated in the twentieth century by its attackers.

Before turning to influential twentieth-century arguments against the JTB theory, let us briefly consider the three traditional components of knowledge in turn.Most epistemologists have found it overwhelmingly plausible that what is false cannot be known.For example, Hillary Clinton did not win the 2016 US Presidential election.A proposed analysis consists of a statement of the following form: S knows that p if and only if j, where j indicates the analysans: paradigmatically, a list of conditions that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for S to have knowledge that p.It is not enough merely to pick out the actual extension of knowledge.Suppose Walter comes home after work to find out that his house has burned down. Critics of the belief condition might argue that Walter knows that his house has burned down (he sees that it has), but, as his words indicate, he does not believe it.The standard response is that Walter’s avowal of disbelief is not literally true; what Walter wishes to convey by saying “I don’t believe it” is not that he really does not believe that his house has burned down, but rather that he finds it hard to come to terms with what he sees.To believe outright that p, it isn’t enough to have a pretty high confidence in p; it is something closer to a commitment or a being sure.Although initially it might seem obvious that knowing that p requires believing that p, a few philosophers have argued that knowledge without belief is indeed possible.On this interpretation of the project of analyzing knowledge, the defender of a successful analysis of knowledge will be committed to something like the metaphysical claim that is literally composed of more basic concepts, linked together by something like Boolean operators.Consequently, an analysis is subject not only to extensional accuracy, but to facts about the cognitive representation of knowledge and other epistemic notions.


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