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KNOWLEDGE, JUSTIFICATION, AND REASONS-BASED BELIEF

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2020

PAUL ÉGRÉ
Affiliation:
INSTITUT JEAN-NICOD CNRS/ENS/EHESS, PSL UNIVERSITY 29, RUE D'ULM - 75005 PARIS, FRANCE E-mail: paul.egre@ens.fr
PAUL MARTY
Affiliation:
LEIBNIZ-ZAS BERLIN BERLIN, GERMANY and UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON LONDON, UK E-mail: p.marty@ucl.ac.uk
BRYAN RENNE
Affiliation:
UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN SASKATOON, SK, CANADA E-mail: bryan@renne.org

Abstract

Is knowledge definable as justified true belief (“JTB”)? We argue that one can legitimately answer positively or negatively, depending on whether or not one’s true belief is justified by what we call adequate reasons. To facilitate our argument we introduce a simple propositional logic of reason-based belief, and give an axiomatic characterization of the notion of adequacy for reasons. We show that this logic is sufficiently flexible to accommodate various useful features, including quantification over reasons. We use our framework to contrast two notions of JTB: one internalist, the other externalist. We argue that Gettier cases essentially challenge the internalist notion but not the externalist one. Our approach commits us to a form of infallibilism about knowledge, but it also leaves us with a puzzle, namely whether knowledge involves the possession of only adequate reasons, or leaves room for some inadequate reasons. We favor the latter position, which reflects a milder and more realistic version of infallibilism.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Association for Symbolic Logic, 2020

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