• Icarus
    Hey all,

    I'm writing an essay on justified true belief (JTB) and have used Lozanski's article "The Gettier Problem No Longer a Problem" as a response to Gettier. However, I'm struggling to find any responses or reception to Lozanski's response?

    Lozanski's article can be found here: https://philosophynow.org/issues/63/The_Gettier_Problem_No_Longer_a_Problem

    Was it discredited in some way? How did people respond?

    Thanks in advance

  • Terrapin Station
    As far as I know, no one paid much attention to the Lozanski article. It doesn't help that it was just a short article in Philosophy Now magazine.
  • Icarus
    Seems that way, I may try and find some better responses to Gettier. I suppose I could just say that Lozanski was not taken seriously and was not from a respected platform like a journal.
  • Terrapin Station
    Here's a list of a bunch of papers about the Gettier problem:

  • Icarus
    This is great, thanks.
  • MichaelAccepted Answer
    Gettier makes a very specific statement (Jones is the man who will get the job, and Jones has ten coins in his pocket), and from that he deduces a very generalized statement, (The man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket.) However, it is not clear who ‘the man’ refers to here. If ‘the man’ refers to Jones then the statement is false, because Jones is not the man who gets the job. If ‘the man’ refers to Smith, then Smith would be making a statement without any justification, since he believes that Jones will get the job. The first possibility violates the truth requirement for justified true belief, while the second case violates the justification requirement. Gettier has tried to use semantic obscurity to trick the reader into believing that justified true belief is not enough for knowledge. However, it can be seen that in this case the ‘knowledge’ was either not justified or false, and thus never constituted knowledge in the first place.

    "The man" refers to whomever gets the job.

    Compare with "the winner of the match between Murray and Djokovic will receive the gold medal". Does "the winner" refer to Murray or to Djokovic? It just refers to whomever wins the match.

    So rather than Gettier using semantic obscurity to trick the reader, I think it's Lozanski who does so.

    This second example cannot be accepted because it contains an inherent logical flaw. Gettier uses an example in the form of ‘either a or b, not a, therefore b’. However, this form of logic can ‘prove’ an infinite number of impossibilities. For example, I have reason to believe that Brown is in Barcelona, so I say “Either cows fly or Brown is in Barcelona.” It turns out Brown is now in Amsterdam, therefore, cows fly. This is obviously impossible, thus showing that the formula can’t be used to prove anything ­– or else it could be used to prove everything!

    This misses the point. Assuming that Smith is justified in believing that Jones owns a Ford then he is justified in believing "either Jones owns a Ford, or Brown is in Barcelona". And if Brown is in Barcelona (and Jones doesn't own a Ford) then this proposition is true. So he has a justified true belief. The only way to argue against Gettier here is to argue that this counts as knowledge.

    You cannot claim here to know a proposition which randomly happened to be true just because its complementary proposition which you thought was true wasn’t. This is the wrong ‘justification’. Conclusions derived using this logical sleight-of-hand cannot be considered knowledge.

    Gettier isn't saying that this counts as knowledge. He's saying that it isn't knowledge, even though it's a justified true belief.
  • Icarus
    Thanks for this, it highlights Lozanski's misunderstanding.
  • Terrapin Station
    I'm more in the camp of agreeing with Lozanski, but not exactly for the same reasons, even if my reasons for agreement are similar in some ways.

    However, a lot of my view stems from what's a very nontraditional approach to meaning, reference, etc., specifically rooted in the fact that I'm a subjectivist on meaning and reference (as well as truth-value, justification, and some other things).

    At any rate, I also don't think that the Gettier problems are genuinely problems with the jtb characterization of knowledge, but not many would agree with my analysis of the jtb characterization.
  • intrapersona
    Please post your essay once you are finished with it if you feel comfortable ;)
  • Sam26
    The real problem with any theory that tries to be precise with a definition of knowledge is that there are just too many uses of the word, i.e., we will never capture every possible use in a definition or theory. There are just family resemblances. Wittgenstein kept trying to make this point over and over again. However, people keep trying to do what's impossible. It's like trying to come up with a definition of the word game that covers every possible use. It can't be done, at least with many words.

    I think we can generally say that most uses of the word knowledge do incorporate the idea of being justified in some way, but keep in mind there are many ways of justifying a belief besides inductive and deductive arguments.
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