According to the traditional account of knowledge: S knows P iff S has a (1) Justified (2) True (3) Belief. I have not faced any account of knowledge that denies that last two things (epistemic property I may say?) namely S believes P, and P is True. Everybody seems to have a problem with justification.

Now, according to Plantinga, Warrant is something that makes a distinction between true belief and knowledge.

Can't we just say that he gave us a new sense of justification or he redefined justification? What is the difference between justification and warrant then? We use justification when studying Gettier, Harman, Lehrer etc. and we use warrant when studying Plantinga? Is that it?

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    Commented Nov 13, 2020 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


This one is right in the WP article on Alvin Plantinga:

Plantinga discusses his view of Reformed epistemology and proper functionalism in a three-volume series. In the first book of the trilogy, Warrant: The Current Debate, Plantinga introduces, analyzes, and criticizes 20th-century developments in analytic epistemology, particularly the works of Chisholm, BonJour, Alston, Goldman, and others.[44] In the book, Plantinga argues specifically that the theories of what he calls "warrant"-what many others have called justification (Plantinga draws out a difference: justification is a property of a person holding a belief while warrant is a property of a belief [emphasis mine])—put forth by these epistemologists have systematically failed to capture in full what is required for knowledge.[45]

My personal usage is that of Toulmin's which is 'warrants are propositions that "act as bridges, and authorise the sort of step to which our particular argument commits us."' (p.98, The Uses of Argument, 1963) That is, a warrant allows us to go from premises to conclusions, and the argument itself is a collection of propositions that fulfills the process of justification, the accuracy and truth of which is a normative function of the agent on the syntactic and semantic level.

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