Consider the claim that we knew that Earth was flat. The aforementioned claim seems counter-intuitive, at first glance; and false in accordance with the definition of "knowledge" as "justified true belief", since, presumably, it has never—at least since the existence of humankind upto the present—been a justified true belief that Earth is flat. So, one who argues that knowledge is indeed fallible, could either bite this bullet, or set the record straight.

The question "what is knowledge?" may also be relevant

  • 2
    i think you'll have to be more specific :) that's very general, first problematised by the Greeks, which i would suggest starting with, and continuing to be a guiding question for philosophy up to its present day forms. If you are interested in the epistemological work of a particular person i would reccomend plato.stanford.edu
    – Dr Sister
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 4:43
  • "Does anyone know what knowledge is?" <= presupposes you know :-)
    – Benjamin
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 17:27
  • "Does anyone know if knowledge is fallible?" This also is a terminology issue, a matter of definitions not epistemological insight.
    – Benjamin
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 17:47
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    "I know that knowledge is fallible."
    – Benjamin
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 17:49
  • @Benjamin "I know that knowledge is not fallible." Which position is more useful? Truth and knowledge cannot be a matter of definition, or there is no point in getting up in the morning.
    – user16869
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 0:02

2 Answers 2


I suppose I would recommend Edmund Gettier's article "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?" and the surrounding discussion.


Not only is the question "what is knowledge" relevant, but you are essentially asking it, in part. Is "knowledge" the kind of object that incorporates fallibility or infallibility?

I think most definitions of knowledge would rule out fallibility; at least, attempts at definitions tend to seem to take this as an almost undisputed point, except when we don't assume that there is objective truth. In that case, though, it's hard to imagine even wanting to use the word knowledge in the first place.

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