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Assess reliabilism

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Assess Reliabilism In order to asses Reliabilism, it must be viewed within its context as a philosophical idea and with and against the conditions it establishes. Reliabilism is the philosophical ideas that, what we use to justify our beliefs, are methods that have proved to be reliable in the past, or rather a method that we know, or normally just believe, to be reliable. The idea of Reliabilism can be seen as coming as a response to the Gettier problem. The Gettier problem being that all of the tripartite conditions for knowledge can be met, but there may be no actual knowledge, by the accepted definition of Plato, as justified true belief. One such example of a Gettier problem is this: say I have a friend, Fred. I walk into Fred's room and see Fred on his bed. I shall then know that Fred is in the room. However, who I believe to be Fred, is actually his brother Tim. So, I now have no justification to believe that Fred is in the room; or rather I have a false justification, as Fred is not in the room. However, Fred is in the room, but hiding under the bed. Would I be right in my knowledge that Fred is in the room? No, as I am not properly justified. I have only true, belief. So, quite obviously the problem with this Gettier example is that my true, belief, was not justified in a reliable way. ...read more.


A belief is appropriately caused if it is produced by the fact, object or event that makes the belief true. So, for example, I know that I am writing this essay as my essay plays a part in causing me to believe that I am writing it. Goldman's analysis may also help with the Gettier cases. This is, as the chain between the belief that p is correct and the fact that p is, have been broken. As an example, lets say, I believe something, d. What caused me to believe d, that my Fred Ben owns a Ford or that Mark is in Italy, was not that Ben owns a Ford, but something else, such as I have seen Ben driving a Ford or. So the fact that makes d true, that mark is in Italy, did not cause me to believe d, as I actually had no idea that Mark was in Italy - I had chosen that location at random. According to Goldman, if a true belief is to be knowledge, then the belief must be caused in the right way, by the fact in the proposition. More problems with Reliabilism are also shown with Causal theory. The main problem is that of Universal Propositions. For example I may know that all pens are made by human beings. However, this knowledge doesn't seem to be causally supported by the fact that all pens are made by human beings. ...read more.


The problem with the internalist theory is that it is like a circle. This can be best shown in a series of questions. How do I know that the method I am using to establish whether something is true is reliable? What method do I use to ascertain that the means for determining whether a method is reliable is itself reliable? These questions can go on like a circle. Of course, the most obvious and perhaps prudent option would be to argue that an adequate Reliabilist theory should be one which combines both the externalist and internalist theories. Robert Audi, has suggested that reliability theories find it hard to avoid the issue of justification. We form our beliefs about the external world on the basis of perception. Now, when would such a method be reliable? It is when a person is, so-called 'sufficiently-attentive', not drunk, is not confused, sees things in a 'good-light' and so on,. We can define 'sufficiently-attentive' reasonably easily as 'being attentive enough to form justified beliefs about the object seen'. As a result, justification cannot seemingly be removed from the reliability theory, which means nor can internalist theories, be avoided. And, as a result of this, internalist ideas are further mingled with the externalist. Reliabilism can be of great help to Philosophers aiming to establish what can be said to justify knowledge. However, it has several problems, which all seem to derive from the difficulty, in producing a clear notion of reliability. Until a clear and perhaps definitive definition or notion can be established, the arguments of Reliabilism can be undermined to certain degree, too easily. ...read more.

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