Gettier Problems

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Since Edmund Gettier published his work on justified true belief as knowledge, there have been a plethora of philosophers poking holes in his theory while attempting to discover alternate solutions to his theory. Linda Zagzebski is one of the many philosophers who criticizes and attempts to resolve the Gettier problems in her article, “The Inescapability of the Gettier Problems,” providing concice reasoning as to why they are truly inescapable. According to Zagzebski, the contradictions between reaching the truth via the correct casual connection and the use of warrant, or justification, for obtaining truth are the root issues of the Gettier Problems, and knowledge can only be obtained by means of meeting certain conditions. One of the key…show more content…
Adding defeasibility conditions, or conditions that would change the subject’s mind about the truth of something when learned, would eliminate the problem of accidental truth obtained by chance. Applying these conditions in the case of Mary’s belief of her husband sitting in the living room, in addition to Gettier’s Smith owns a Ford or Brown is in Barcelona, the subjects would all change their beliefs on the basis of the new facts they acquire according to their situations (Zagzebski 70). If defeasibility conditions are applied stringently, the defeasibility conditions can entail justified, undefeated belief, however, the belief can be false due to an unknown circumstance outside the knowledge of the subject; if applied in a weaker way, it can be prone to yield knowledge only by circumstance, making it not yield knowledge at all because the truth was obtained only accidentally (Zagzebski 70-71). For example, Zagsebski’s Gettier-style example of Dr. Jones believing that Smith has virus X due to evidence of him in the early stages of it, but exhibiting no symptoms of it whatsoever, justifies Dr. Jones in believing Smith has virus X, and is undefeated, yet it is not considered knowledge due to the fact that Dr. Jones is basing her diagnosis on an educated guess of the probability of Smith having virus X (Zagzebski 71). However, the fact that Dr. Jones knows Smith actually has virus X does not entail knowledge being that Dr. Jones happened to be luckily correct about her educated guess of the probability of Smith having virus X while satisfying justification and defeasibility conditions. Though defeasibility and justification conditions may defeat belief in some cases, there will always be circumstances that can make the conditions void and cause one to fall short of
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