IiiGlossie is justified in believing D because she forms belief D on the basis of C for which she has good evidence

However, the natural thought is that despite having met these three conditions, Glossie does not know that the woman who will get the part has a surgically enhanced body. This case reinforces the idea that this is because, although she has acquired justification for belief D via her justification for belief C, her belief in D is based upon tracking the wrong facts of the matter. For D is true in virtue of the fact that Barbie has a surgically enhanced body, not in virtue of the fact that Glitzie has a surgically enhanced body which is the fact for which Glossie has evidence. Her belief D is formed on the basis of what she knows about Glitzie's body, not what she believes or knows about Barbie.

To re-cap then: C is a justified but false belief. It is justified because of the evidence of the casting director's admission and Glossie's having seen Glitzie at the plastic surgeon's clinic. It is false because Glitzie does not actually get the part in Bimbowatch. On the basis of this justified but false belief C, Glossie forms belief D, which is true, and justified on the basis of Glossie's evidence for C. But although D is both true and justified, it doesn't seem to count as knowledge because it doesn't track the correct fact in virtue of which it is true.

Cases such as the two considered here suggest that it remains possible for someone not to count as having knowledge that P despite the fact that their belief that P meets the conditions laid down by the tripartite account of knowledge. The implication of such cases is that knowledge is not simply justified, true belief.

That is not to say that we shouldn't seek rational justification for our beliefs. In most cases the evidence available to us will provide good reasons for holding a belief, and when that belief is true then we can reasonably claim to have knowledge. Our evidence, our justification, does tell us how likely it is that our belief is true. However, cases such as these demonstrate that rational justification can fail to generate knowledge even where it does secure its intended object, namely truth.

It is crucial for critical thinkers to recognise that truth is objec- CHAPTER tive and not relative. Otherwise the critical thinker's objective SUMMARY of analysing and assessing arguments with the aim of getting at the truth of a matter is deeply undermined. Some sentences that appear to be straightforward assertions are, in fact, implicitly relative expressions of subjective preferences and tastes: they are implicitly speaker-relative. In such cases there cannot be genuine disagreements about the facts of the matter, whereas when a factual proposition is asserted, a genuine disagreement can occur because a truth is at stake. To deny this, to accept the myth that all truth is relative, is to accept something which it seems impossible to make sense of. In the case of moral beliefs, or beliefs about value, relativism may not be readily refutable, but (1) the consequences of denying that there is truth in this realm appear to be extremely pernicious and (2) relativism does not completely close the door to rational persuasion, because we may still demand consistency of the relativist.

If our stance is not that of not considering it, or refusing to consider it, which of the three remaining stances we take towards a given proposition depends upon the evidence available to us. We require sufficient evidence for the truth or falsity of a proposition in order to justify believing or rejecting it. If such evidence is unavailable, we should suspend our judgement. It is perfectly possible to be justified in holding a false belief. The evidence available to us might make it rational for us to accept a proposition despite the fact that it turns out to be false.

Merely having a true belief in a proposition is not sufficient to count as knowing the proposition, though it is necessary for knowledge thereof. Traditionally, philosophers have concluded that knowledge requires a true belief arrived at via the right route; that is, via good reasoning based upon sufficient evidential support. This leads to the formulation of an account of knowledge known as the tripartite account according to which to know that P, is to have a justified true belief that P

However, a series of cases proposed by Edmund Gettier prompt us to question the completeness of this account. There are cases in which a justified true belief is not knowledge. Many of these cases involve someone having a justified true belief which they have arrived at via an entailment from another belief that is justified yet false. The evidence that apparently supports their true belief is evidence for the initial, false, belief but not really evidence for their true belief. This is because the evidence does not ensue from the facts that make the true belief true.

EXERCISES 1 For each of the propositions expressed by the following sentences, say whether its truth-value is implicitly speaker-relative. If it is, explain also whether it could be implicitly relative to the preferences of the person asserting it. Explain your answers. Note that in some cases, there is room for reasonable disagreement as to the correct answer. So don't worry if you are not sure of how to answer; the important thing is to try to explain the answer you do give.

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