A Defense of JTB

Topics: Epistemology, Plato, Truth Pages: 3 (908 words) Published: December 4, 2013


A Defense Of JTB

In "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?," Edmund Gettier argues that Plato's theory of knowledge equalling justification, truth and belief is false. Within Gettier's argument, he makes justifications using false ideas. In this paper, I will argue that Gettier's argument fails because justification cannot be made on false ideas and thus JTB (Justification, Truth, Belief) can continue to function as the definition of knowledge.

Plato's Theory of Knowledge states that if a person S has a belief P, if P is actually true and S is justified in having P, then S in fact knows P. For example, I believe that there is a Mac Book Pro in front of me. This is in fact true- there is indeed a Mac Book Pro in front of me. I have justification to believe that there is a Mac Book Pro in front of me because I am using it to type this paper. Therefore, by JTB, I know there is a Mac Book Pro in front of me.

To Gettier, however, the idea of JTB does not constitute knowledge. To illustrate his point, Gettier preposes an example involving two job candidates, Smith and Jones. Smith and Jones have both applied for the same job. At work, Smith is told by the company president that Jones will get the job. He also sees Jones counting the coins in his pocket, perhaps to buy a snack with later, and see that Jones has ten coins in his pocket. Therefore, Smith reasons that the person who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket, a justified conclusion. However, it turns out that the president was wrong and Smith in fact gets the job. By sheer coincidence, Smith also finds he has ten coins in his pocket. This means that Smith's belief that the person who gets the job will have ten coins in his pocket is actually true. In this example, Smith holds a belief S that the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket. He has justification for believing this because a person with credibility, the company president said that Jones was getting the job and he saw...
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