Sept. 19, 2013
Analytic Conditions Project and
1. RECAPITULATION: contemporary epistemology dominated by Conditions Project:
attempt to identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge.
Three very distinct approaches:
1.1- Analytic approach: attempts to identify conditions of inferential propositional
knowledge (S knows the P) that are logically or conceptually necessary, by analyzing the
concept of knowledge – this is thought to yield a priori knowledge of the conditions of
-Propositional knowledge that is inferred
1.2 - Naturalistic approach (Quine, Kornblith, Stroud) – conceived as empirical: scientific
study: how human organism acquires knowledge about its environment; thus about the
necessary conditions for human organism to know things. Supplanting, not
complementary to analytic.
1.3 – Transcendental approach: the conditions of knowledge are epistemic – they
“reflect the structure of the cognitive apparatus” (Allison) and are available only
through ‘transcendental’ analysis. Conditions are a prior and can be investigated only
by a priori means, not empirically.
2. Challenge for analytic approach: to identify conditions of fallibly justified (including
empirical) knowledge that still jointly distinguish it from (mere) true belief that’s not
(3.1) - Do we need a conditional account of knowledge?
(3.2) - Is a conditional account of knowledge (analytically conceived) possible?
Williamson: No to 3.2, hence to 3.1. Analysis need not preclude circularity if concept
primitive. (Note analytic assumption: jointly necessary and sufficient conditions iff
Red Colored ^ Red
-Colored is a necessary condition for Red Knowledge Belief + Knowledge
-knowledge is a primitive concept
4. No Luck Constraint: The necessary condition of traditional analysis that true belief be
justified (or for Ayer: one have a ‘right’ to be sure) aims to prevent lucky guessing. (e.g.
5. Gettier: one can have justified belief that is true –JTB analysis – but still only by luck (i.e.
in relation to justification) Structure of Gettier counterexamples:
(i) S justifiably believes P
(ii) P is false (Assumption: internal justification fallible)
(iii) (P Q)
(iv) Q (happens to be true, ‘luckily,’ i.e. not