Brian Weatherson had a couple of posts critical of Williamson last week at his blog. While I’m sympathetic to what I think Brian’s general point is, I’m not sure I agree with the claims in this post. The dispute is a question more of what’s accepted than what’s right, so I’d like to canvas your opinions on the question.
Brian notes that Williamson argues that Gettier refuted the justified true belief analysis of knowledge, and that he also claims that “a flat-out belief is fully justified if and only if it constitutes knowledge.” But if the second is true, justified true belief is knowledge (and vice versa). Brian continues:
From the article it looks like the way to resolve the apparent contradiction is that Williamson thinks that the Gettier cases only work if we interpret ‘justified’ as ‘justified by the best version of internalist epistemology’. He doesn’t think that there are counterexamples to an externalist version of JTB. I don’t think this is particularly plausible. The intuitions supporting Gettier cases don’t turn on whether we’re internalists or externalists about justification.
I ask: Do you agree with the last sentence? I don’t, because of these historical points:
(1) Gettier’s own cases were, I take it, directed at internalist versions of JTB–is this generally accepted?
(2) Gettier cases have been used to support externalist versions of JTB; for instance, as I read Goldman, he uses the Ginet fake barn cases to support reliabilist JTB (the theory of knowledge he puts forth in “Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge” is a JTB theory on the theory of justification he puts forth in “What is Justified Belief?”–if I’m remembering correctly.)
Some externalist versions of JTB are vulnerable to Gettier counterexamples, but it’s not clear to me that every externalist version of JTB is vulnerable. But I’m curious if others share my sense that Gettier cases are particularly suited to internalist theories.