Posted at 10.11.2018
The Tripartite Theory of Knowledge, a theory which goes back so far as Plato, areas that for one to have got knowledge, one will need to have justified true belief. Quite simply, if you carry a belief, that notion must be true and also you must have the ability to justify it. The Tripartite Theory prevails to give a response to the question of what exactly knowledge is. Whilst the theory may have been widely accepted in the past, it is at 1963 that an epistemological controversy on this issue ensued. Edmund Gettier's three-page paper "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?" shows two conditions where in fact the requirements for justified true belief look like met but mostly due to good fortune rather than knowledge. Whilst these counter-examples have led to lots of attempted solutions, my opinion would be that the Gettier problem can't be settled. Alvin Goldman attemptedto solve the Gettier problem with a theory of causal interconnection which declares that justified true notion must be achieved via a causal connection to the truth. In this essay, I will emphasize the ways in which Goldman's suggested solution comes short and so does not solve the Gettier problem and thus demonstrate one way in which the Gettier problem cannot be resolved.
The Gettier problem fundamentally shows the condition of chance in the Tripartite Theory and therefore shows how justified true opinion doesn't necessarily imply knowledge. I will present this through the following Gettier-style example: Susie strolls at night same clock everyday on her behalf way to school at 2pm. Today, as she walks past, the clock indeed says 2pm and she has no reason to trust otherwise since the clock is well retained and is definitely right before. Susie has justified true notion. However, unbeknownst to Susie, the clock stopped 12 hours before at 2am. So whilst Susie believes the clock reads 2pm, it actually reads 2am. Thus, the actual fact that the clock discontinued at that time it does is purely right down to fortune. So Susie's notion fails to be knowledge. If knowledge were to be gained via a causal connection, the challenge of chance would essentially not are present as the agent would have purchased knowledge through a reliable, cognitive process. The purpose of the causal theory is to reinforce the Tripartite Theory but with the addition of a clause that expresses that a causal chain between values and truths is required for knowledge. Goldman argues that understanding is one such mechanism that can allow a causal interconnection and thus justify one's true values. He states in his 1967 paper "A Causal Theory of Knowing"; "Possibly the simplest case of any causal chain hooking up some reality p with someone's idea of p is that of understanding" (Goldman 358). Goldman uses the example of the vase to reinforce his argument about perception which is help with the following: S considers a vase but that vase is really being hidden by way of a laser photograph of an vase. Because of the picture, S believes that there surely is a vase before him. Goldman argues that in fact, S will not really see the vase because of the insufficient causal interconnection that is available between S's opinion and the true vase. So eventually, what Goldman is saying is the fact that knowledge acquired by look requires some kind of causal connection for it to seriously be knowledge. So the Gettier problem is essentially resolved, regarding to Goldman, by adding the causal interconnection clause.
Goldman continues his newspaper by speaking about knowledge based on memory. Memory can be considered a causal process because a current opinion could be brought on and therefore followed back to an earlier cause. Knowing an undeniable fact at one time and then knowing it again at another is not necessarily knowledge predicated on ram as a causal connection would need to be included as an important component in recollection. Like understanding, the causal connection of memory can be used by Goldman to resolve the Gettier problem through the addition of a supplementary element in the Tripartite Theory. Goldman goes on further to go over knowledge based on inference through the lava circumstance. S confirms lava on the countryside and infers that there is an eruption. However in actual reality, someone has located lava there in order to make it look like there have been a genuine eruption, unaware of the actual volcano. Goldman claims that S doesn't really know that there is an eruption since it is not causally linked to any beliefs about there being an eruption. So, inferential knowledge requires a connection through some kind of causal string or as Goldman puts it: "when someone bases his opinion of 1 proposition on his opinion of a set of other propositions, then his idea of the latter propositions can be considered a reason behind his opinion of the previous proposition. " (Goldman 362).
Whilst Goldman's "A Causal Theory of Knowing" is a rousing essay on the subject of knowledge, his debate or rather so-called treatment for the Gettier problem in my own opinion is ultimately flawed. One particular criticism lies in the argument our senses could so easily deceive us and therefore can a causal interconnection based on understanding really be utilized to prove the acquirement of knowledge? The answer is surely no and this can be observed in the barn faade example, in which a realtor drives by way of a town filled up with fake barns. Position before one of these imitation barns, the agent can say that he has justified true opinion through perception. Even though there's a causal connection in this example, the agent does not really have knowledge. So phony conclusions can be attracted from a process which, corresponding to Goldman would normally produce true beliefs highlighting the fact that Goldman's theory is flawed. So this does not give a means to fix the Gettier problem.
Another problem with Goldman's theory is based on the fact that not everything on the globe can have a causal connection. Specifically, knowledge that is clearly a priori such as 2 + 2 = 4 seems to be a fact about quantities but it generally does not have a causal impact. It is a truth you know predicated on no causal connection exactly like many group of numbers are. So it is possible to state that the challenge with Goldman's theory here is that it targets a posteriori knowledge but seems to dismiss a priori knowledge and therefore is too restrictive. It can therefore not be considered a way to the Gettier problem since it doesn't take all sorts of knowledge into consideration, which is vital in epistemology. So again, the Gettier problem remains unresolved.
The issue of inappropriate reconstruction is the one which further weakens Goldman's theory. There are times when you can have a true belief however the causal chain which allowed these to have that knowledge is inappropriate. For example, an agent discovers his best friend's body and believes that he's dead because of the fact that he is missing body parts. The agent assumes that the friend passed away by decapitation but actually, he was poisoned and decapitated pursuing his death. This doesn't count as knowledge due to the false dynamics of the causal chain. Kenneth Collier in his 1973 essay "Contra the Causal Theory of Knowing" finds a counter-example to Goldman's theory which indicates no causal string. Collier uses the example of an agent on a hallucinogenic medication which highlights the actual fact that any beliefs the subject has which turn out to be true, can't be explained causally due to the hallucinogenic state that they are really in. Inside the paper, Collier has given Smith the hallucinogenic medication and he hallucinates that his better half is having an affair. In actual fact, his better half is having an affair but can this count as knowledge? Surely this is merely an example of incorrect reconstruction due to the hallucinations or an example of no causal chain by any means. Collier argues that "the difficulty here seems to be that it's easy for Smith's belief that p to be triggered by the actual fact that p in ways that are irrelevant to his knowledge. But which means that the causal connection cannot be an adequate condition for knowledge. " (Collier 351)
Ultimately, Goldman's causal theory tries to resolve the Gettier problem by adding a supplementary clause which suggests that true idea has to be a result of a causal chain. He uses types of perception, memory and inference to focus on the ways in which causality can solve the Gettier problem. But his theory is flawed overall due to the unreliability of the senses, a lack of a concentrate on a priori knowledge and the situation of wrong reconstruction. I thought we would give attention to Goldman's theory but it is merely one of these out of a large number of attempts to solve the Gettier problem. Other proposed solutions include eradicating conditions such as luck, defeat and phony evidence as put forth by philosophers like Unger, Lehrer and Lycan. These proposed alternatives, like the causal connection theory are all flawed and thus do not offer an adequate response to the Gettier problem. Therefore, I do not assume that the Gettier problem can be solved credited to my agreement that justified true perception does not automatically imply knowledge.