Justified True Belief

What this class is all about. While we rarely think about what our claims to knowledge valid, it takes very little time to notice that it is actually quite difficult. Traditionally, a claim to knowledge was considered valid if it met the requirements for Justified True Belief(JTB). This has been our way of evaluating the validity of a knowledge claim ever since Plato. Recently, in the last 100 years or so, it has been undermined, as our faith in the ability to know something with complete certainty has weakened. In justified true belief as traditionally conceived of, a claim to knowledge was valid if it was justified, true, and believed."

JTB as a way of evalutating our claims to knowledge was eventually seen as problematic, and a Non-Deontological version of it was developped. Tradtionally, JTB required complete certainty for us to justifiably claim that we knew something. However, considering that each mode of justification has certain inherent limitations(see above), a reviewed idea of how knowledge works emerged. Non-deontological JTB is not based on certainty, but on probability. Rather than demand complete certainty, we look for 'reasonableness', which, unfortunately, is significantly more subjective than certainty. What is reasonably certain, or acceptably certain is very context dependent, and varies to some extent from individual to individual. This does NOT mean that we are left with nothing except skepticism. If your idea of what is reasonable differs too much from that of others, you will seem crazy. If it differs too much from reality, you are crazy.

For example, some individual in america thought he was endowed with super powers because when he looked at his alarm clock in the morning, it stopped. Believing this to be a reasonable proof of his superpowers, he then tried to stop a moving train- while standing in front of it. It turned out his superpowers did not suffice. His wife had told him she was unconvinced, but he remained convinced. The reason we think this story is funny (in a sad kind of way) is because his belief seems crazy- the justifications for his beliefs were incredibly thin (only experience), and even that was limited (one time event).

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