Sept. 17, 2013
The Analytic Conditions Project (and the Gettier Problem)
1. Ayer: Fallibilist challenge: to conceptualize fallible knowledge: i.e. to distinguish
knowledge from mere belief, on one hand, yet without requiring indubitably, on the
-Fallibilist account of knowledge = fallible justification
-knowledge is distinguishable from truth and beliefs – what is needed for it to be
sufficient? Certainty is a requirement – based on indubitability.
Just as ‘I know p, but p is false’ is a contradiction,
‘I know p, but p may be wrong’ seems to be a contradiction
2. Ambiguity of modal scope: ‘what is known must be true’:
a. ‘It is necessary that if something is known it is true’ TRUE
b. ‘If something is known, it is necessary truth.’ FALSE; true of necessary not empirical
ex: If I think, I exist.
ex: If I say the dog is walking, there is a dog.
3. Could stipulate: ‘know’ will apply only to certain truths, but that would leave out most
empirical statements currently regarded as knowledge, and even many mathematical
4. Ayer’s solution: Entitlement as condition of knowledge: certainty and truth insufficient
for knowledge – one might not be entitled (‘have a right’) to be sure.
“The difference *between knowledge and true belief+ is that to say that he knows is to
concede to him the right to be sure, while to say that he is guessing is to withhold
it…Normally we do not say that people know things unless they have followed one of
the accredited routes to knowledge. If someone reaches a true conclusion without
appearing to have any adequate basis for it, we are likely to say that he does not really
5. “…if we allow this sort of knowledge to be even theoretically possible, what becomes of
the distinction between knowledge and true belief?...The difference is that to say that
he knows is to concede to him the right