Gettier famously argues against the traditional theory of knowledge that justified true belief may not always be knowledge. Basically, his examples can be summarized as whether we can have knowledge by accident/luck. Such (counter)examples i.e. Gettier cases are cases where it is a justified true belief but still not knowledge. However, later studies show that some people may accept Gettier cases as knowledge. They are culturally different than western people. Now the problem I am wondering if that is the case, then does Gettier's argument have any value?

Let me explain the question further. Suppose, You know very well how to read a clock. One day at 3 AM, you looked at a clock and then you saw it's 3 AM. So you formed a belief that "It's 3 AM" which is true and justified. However, the clock is in fact broken and the hands of the broken clock are in such an arrangement that it says it's 3 AM. So it is not true because the clock said so but you just got lucky. Here, though you have a justified true belief, Gettier says, you do not know that it's 3 AM. And from then epistemologists gave us several accounts of knowledge.

But Steven Weinberg et al. show that the confidence Gettier had to classify those cases as non-knowledge cannot explain empirical evidence. It's only the western people who are more likely to count Gettier cases as non-knowledge. Indian sub-continental people are more likely to count Gettier cases as knowledge.

So I don't understand what is the outcome of this whole pursuit of analyzing knowledge! Why are people still doing this? What is the importance of getting a set of 'jointly sufficient and individually necessary' conditions of knowledge when it varies from people to people, culture to culture!?

P.S. Sorry, I couldn't give a title that looks like I'm asking a question to another person. If anyone wants to rephrase the question, please do so.

Paper by Gettier: https://fitelson.org/proseminar/gettier.pdf

Paper by Weinberg et al: http://ruccs.rutgers.edu/images/labs-rgehc/publications/Normativity_and_Epistemic_Intuitions.pdf

  • Knowledge is truthfully justified true belief - you know something if it's true and you have good reasons for believing it, and if your reasons for believing it are also true. Anyway, we might nail down one sense of the word, and that's legitimate even if not everyone uses that sense. Like mathematicians have a different idea of "vector" from engineers, but it's perfectly valid to ask for the mathematical sense of "vector."
    – causative
    Dec 25, 2020 at 8:05
  • 1
    "Knowledge" is a word, if different groups of people attach different concepts to it they will have different intuitions about using it. It is well known, for example, that even Westerners sometimes attach "know" to true beliefs without any justification, this is sometimes called "lightweight knowledge". It covers Gettier cases. It still make sense to circumscribe the more demanding concept, whether we call it "knowledge", "strict knowledge" or something else, which excludes Gettier cases, or at least most of them.
    – Conifold
    Dec 26, 2020 at 9:50
  • This would be the case even if the experimental findings reported by Weinberg et al. are unqualifyingly correct. However, other researchers were unable to replicate them, see e.g. Seyedsayamdost.
    – Conifold
    Dec 26, 2020 at 10:04


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