No Justification for Smith’s Incidentally True Beliefs

Grazer Philosophische Studien 99 (2):273–292 (2022)
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Edmund Gettier (1963) argued that there can be justified true belief (JTB) that is not knowledge. I question the correctness of his argument by showing that Smith of Gettier’s famous examples does not earn justification for his incidentally true beliefs, while a doxastically more conscientious person S would come to hold justified but false beliefs. So, Gettier’s (and analogous) cases do not result in justified _and_ true belief. This is due to a tension between deductive closure of justification and evidential support. For being justified, any believing, disbelieving, or withholding of deductively inferred propositions must be distributed proportionally to given evidential support. This proportionality principle has primacy over deductive closure in case of conflict. My argument does not save the JTB-account. But, instead of merely referring to an intuition, it explains why subjects in Gettier situations do not earn knowledge.

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Alfred Schramm
University of Graz


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