The Ockham Society (Wednesday - Week 1, MT20)

Ockham Society

The legend of pre-Gettier epistemology holds that the majority of historical philosophers subscribed to a Justified True Belief (JTB) account of knowledge. This picture has been convincingly overturned in recent years (Dutant, Antognazza). However, there is also a legend of post-Gettier epistemology. This says that epistemology in the second-half of the 20th century involved a series of disparate attempts to define knowledge, each of which failed for more-or-less idiosyncratic reasons. For some, this narrative supports a pessimistic counterinduction against the prospects of any successful analysis of knowledge. This, in turn, clears the way for the increasingly-prominent Knowledge-First programme in epistemology. 

I argue that this legend is seriously inaccurate. In particular, at least three major post-Gettier approaches to the analysis of knowledge can be reconciled into a single Gettier-proof account: S knows that P if and only if S believes that P on the basis of P itself. The key ingredient for this analysis is Timothy Williamson’s principle that every true proposition is evidence for itself. The surprising conclusion is that, far from being a series of failed attempts to analyse knowledge, almost every post-Gettier approach succeeds.  

Additional Information: Ockham will be held on MS Teams during MT20. Please email if you wish to attend. 

Ockham Society Convenor: Steven Diggin | Ockham Society Webpage