“How do you know that you know the stuff you think you know?
Take away the option of answering, “I just do!” and what’s left is epistemology.”
(Cathcart ,T. & Klein, D. 2007)
The above joke highlights the concept of knowledge, but more specifically it raises the question of how do we know anything? Alvin I. Goldman has an attempt at forming a set of conditions that will help us decide what in fact we do know. The article is ‘What is justified belief?’ and tackles the very core of the question, what, if anything, is possible to know? There are however objections to his theory and they will be looked at as well.
The theory that Goldman comes up with is a theory that uses reliability of a specific process to determine if it can be justified and hence classified as knowledge. As seen in the title of Goldman’s article, “What is a justified belief? “ The word ‘justified’ is used and of interest. The theory is that justification has a close relationship to knowledge (Goldman, A. 1979) and this is the key to using Goldman theory of reliabilism.
Goldman (1979) puts foreword two premises that he feels are necessary for it to be an adequate theory of justification. The fist premise is that he would like a theory that has an actual set of conditions, which are expressed in non epistemic language, that specify when the belief is justified. And the second premise is that the theory must explain why the beliefs that meet those conditions are counted as justified (Goldman, A. 1979).
The first four attempts that Goldman (1979) gives us all fail for different reasons.
“If S believes p at t, and p is indubitable for S (at t), then S’s belief is p at t is justified.”
“If S believes p at t, and p is self-evident, then S’s belief in p at t is justified”
“If p is a self-presenting proposition, and p is true for S at t, and S believes p at t, then S’s belief in p at t is justified”
“If p is an incorrigible proposition, and S believes p at t, then S’s belief in p at t is.