Knowledge And Reality Essay

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Can Knowledge be defined? Explain and defend your answer.

Knowledge is Functional

Defining knowledge has been an ongoing debate for philosophers in the field of epistemology. To come to a conclusion about if knowledge can be defined or not we need to look at theories of knowledge and the different views philosophers who have studied epistemology have. To define knowledge one must find a definition that states, what is necessary for knowledge as well as sufficient and cannot be challenged by counter examples. So what can one say knowledge is? The classic definition for knowledge is that a statement must be justified, true and believed at this point knowledge was defined as having a justified true belief, this is the is known as the tripartite definition for knowledge (Prosser, 2007). Therefore the classic definition of knowledge states that to have knowledge it is necessary that we have a justified true belief (Y only if X). Some philosophers claim that these three conditions however are not sufficient (Whenever X obtains, you are guaranteed Y) to define knowledge.
Edmund Gettier, an American philosopher was the first philosopher to challenge the classic, tripartite definition of knowledge. He claimed that even if you had a justified true belief, this did not mean you had knowledge (Prosser, 2007). Consider the sheep in the field example of a Gettier problem, someone saw a sheep in the field, they know it was a sheep because it looked like a sheep, white woolly and made a “baaaaaing” sound like sheep do. In this example of the Gettier problem we have a belief the person saw the sheep and believe she saw the sheep and is justified in believing that it was a sheep as it looked like a sheep and made sounds like sheep does, and the person that saw the sheep feels that it is true therefore the classical definition of knowledge says that this person has knowledge that there is a sheep in the field, however consider this the sheep in the field is actually a wolf

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