Title page for ETD etd-08272012-160400

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Viktor, Eben
URN etd-08272012-160400
Document Title Post-Gettier epistemology : the role of the first-person perspectives
Degree Master of Arts
Department Philosophy
Advisor Name Title
Prof A P du Toit Supervisor
  • eerstepersoonsregverdiging
  • first-person perspectives
Date 1999-04-01
Availability unrestricted
Edmund Gettier' s article Is justified true belief knowledge? raised substantial interest in the concept of epistemic justification, especially in Anglo-American epistemology. Discussions of the concept of epistemic justification form a large and varied field of study, covering a large number of related aspects. Not all these aspects are dealt with in this study. The distinction between 'structural' and 'perspectival' aspects is introduced as a theoretical tool to limit the scope of the study to covering only 'perspectival' aspects. These refer to aspects related to the perspective from which justification is carried out, i.e. whether it be from a first-person or from a third-person perspective.

The first chapter gives a brief characterisation of the nature of epistemic justification, describing how it is related to the aim of maximising truth and minimising falsity. The concept of epistemic justification also has a normative character, defining justification in terms of blameworthiness. In the second chapter a concept of justification defined in terms of blameworthiness is discussed. A conception of justification construed along normative lines is properly termed 'deontological'. Criticism against such a conception centres around the problem of the voluntariness of belief. Two varieties of control over belief-formation, direct and indirect control, are discussed.

A deontological conception of justification makes it possible for someone to be justified in holding a belief, even though the belief is false. For this reason some epistemologists reject justification defined in deontological terms. The discussion of the deontological conception of justification brings the main problem of first-person justification to the fore, i.e. how to determine, from such a perspective, whether one's belief-formation will lead to truth. Chapter 3 discusses the merit and problems of first-person justification in general. The matter of intersubjective principles as a means to achieve objective truth from a subjective perspective is investigated. The existence and nature of such principles are much-contested matters. Many epistemologists deny that such principles exist innately. However, without intersubjective, truthconducive rules that someone can appeal to, the possibility exists that someone's beliefs may constitute mere belief, in whatever way they are supported by the person's other beliefs. This compels some to reject subjective justification as a valid conception of epistemic justification.

In chapter 4 'internalism', the most recent term for subjective justification, is discussed in comparison with internalism's main contemporary rival, 'externalism'. The different levels of internalism that result from different requirements set for someone's awareness of his justifiers are also discussed, as well as the relationship between internalism and deontology, and between internalism and truth. Chapter 5 deals with the main criticism that externalists level against internalism, i.e. that it creates an infinite justificational regress. Analysis of the structure of the internalist regress shows that a vicious regress is not involved. It is concluded that the notion of justificational perspective has to be incorporated into a theory of epistemic justification in order for such a theory to be able to deal with first-person epistemic situations. This also provides a strategy for accommodating immediate justifiers in an 'internalist' conception of justification without creating an infinite justificational regress. Furthermore it lays foundations for an internalismjexternalism integration theory.

AFRIKAANS : Edmund Gettier se artikel getiteld Is justified true belief knowledge?, epistemiese het ongekende regverdiging belangstelling in veroorsaak, veral die in kwessie van die Engels- Amerikaanse kennisleer. Die bespreking van die begrip 'epistemiese regverdiging' vorm 'n bre~ studieveld wat 'n groat verskeidenheid verwante aspekte insluit. Al hierdie aspekte kon onmoontlik bespreek word in diť studie, daarom is 'n onderskeid getref tussen 'strukturele' aspekte en 'perspektiwiese' aspekte. Die omvang van die studie is daarvolgens beperk tot die bespreking van aspekte wat verband hou met die gesigspunt waaruit regverdiging plaasvind, dit wil se, hetsy dit uit 'n eerstepersoonsgesigspunt of uit 'n derdepersoonsgesigspunt plaasvind.

In die eerste hoofstuk word 'n kort oorsig gegee van die aard van epistemiese regverdiging. Epistemiese regverdiging het die verkryging van waarheid en die vermyding van vals oortuigings as doelwit. Epistemiese regverdiging is ook normatief van aard, en dit maak 'n definisie daarvan in terme van blaam en aanspreeklikheid moontlik. In die tweede hoofstuk word sů 'n definisie, wat bekend staan as 'n deontologiese opvatting van epistemiese regverdiging, bespreek. Die hoofbeswaar teen so 'n opvatting raak die vraagstuk of dit moontlik is om na willekeur beheer uit te oefen oor die verwerwing van oortuigings. Twee soorte beheer, direkte beheer en indirekte beheer, word bespreek.

'n Deontologiese opvatting van epistemiese regverdiging maak dit A moontlik vir iemand om geregverdig te wees om 'n oortuiging te he, selfs al is die oortuiging vals. Party epistemoloŽ verwerp die deontologiese opvatting vir hierdie rede. Die bespreking van die deontologiese opvatting bring die hoofprobleem van eerstepersoonsregverdiging na vore. Dit is hoe om uit 'n eerstepersoonsgesigspunt vas te stel of die manier waarvolgens 'n mens se oortuigings gevorm word, na waarheid sal lei.

Hoofstuk 3 bespreek die probleme omtrent, en die meriete van, eerstepersoonsregverdiging in die algemeen. Die kwessie van intersubjektiewe beginsels, wat na veronderstelling 1 n persoon wat uit 'n subjektiewe gesigspunt te werk gaan, sal lei na waarheid, word ondersoek. Dat sulke beginsels bestaan en wat hulle aard mag wees, is sake wat baie bespreking uitlok. Baie epistemoloŽ ontken dat sulke aangebore beginsels bestaan. Sonder intersubjektiewe beginsels wat ook na waarheid lei, bestaan die moontlikheid egter dat iemand se oortuigings niks meer mag wees nie as blote oortuigings, ongeag hoe hulle ook al onderling saamhang. Op grond hiervan verwerp sommige epistemoloŽ die moontlike definisie van epistemiese regverdiging in terme van blaam en aanspreeklikheid.

In hoofstuk 4 word 'internalismť , wat die jongste benaming vir subjektiewe regverdiging is, bespreek in vergelyking met 'eksternal1sme', wat internal1sme se kontemporÍre teŽvoeter is. Die verskillende vlakke van internalisme word bespreek. Hierdie vlakke ontstaan as gevolg van verskillende vereistes waaraan 'n persoon se bewustheid van die gronde van sy oortuigings gemeet word. Internalisme word ook bespreek in verwantskap met die deontologiese opvatting en in verwantskap met waarheid. In hoofstuk 5 kom eksternaliste se hoofbeswaar teen internalisme onder bespreking. Dit behels die bewering dat internalisme 'n oneindige regressie tot gevolg het. 'n Ontleding van die internalistiese regressie laat egter blyk dat die beswaar op 'n foutiewe veronderstelling rus. Die gevolgtrekking word gemaak dat dit noodsaaklik is om die kwessie van die gesigspunt waaruit regverdiging plaasvind in te sluit in 'n teorie van epistemiese regverdiging. Dit is noodsaaklik ten einde vir so 'n teorie om by vermoŽ te wees om ook eerstepersoons epistemiese situasies aan te spreek. Sodoende word 'n strategie daargestel waarvolgens direkte gronde van regverdiging in 'n internalistiese opvatting van epistemiese regverdiging ingesluit kan word, sonder om 'n oneindige regressie te veroorsaak. So 'n werkwyse lÍ ook grondslae vir die ontwikkeling van 'n teorie waarin internalisme en eksternalisme verenig kan word.

Copyright © 1995, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Viktor E 1995, Post-Gettier epistemology : the role of the first-person perspectives, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08272012-160400 / >


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