Benedict Pictet on the natural knowledge of God, innate and acquired

RWD

Puritan Board Sophomore
I was just giving a cruddy distillation of what I was taught by my UCB professor haha. If he's wrong or I am wrong in understanding the example he gave from the textbook, here is what was given to me in the textbook (I hope this isn't a distraction; thanks for the response):

Suppose that Smith and Jones have applied for a certain job. And suppose that Smith has strong evidence for the following conjunctive proposition: (d) Jones is the man who will get the job, and Jones has ten coins in his pocket. Smith's evidence for (d) might be that the president of the company assured him that Jones would in the end be selected, and that he, Smith, had counted the coins in Jones's pocket ten minutes ago. Proposition (d) entails: (e) The man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket. Let us suppose that Smith sees the entailment from (d) to (e) and accepts (e) on the grounds of (d), for which he has strong evidence. In this case Smith is clearly justified in believing that (e) is true. But imagine, further, that unknown to Smith, he himself, not Jones, will get the job. And also, unknown to Smith, he himself has ten coins in his pocket. Proposition (e) is then true, though proposition (d), from which Smith inferred (e), is false. Gettier concludes that in this case Smith has justified true belief in (e) but doesn't know (e) to be true. It's a matter of luck that he is correct. Other terms like "accidentally correct" or "correct as a matter of sheer coincidence" apply as well. (McGrath, Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction)
I think your synopsis represents one of Gettier’s two original(?) problems well. The red barn Gettier problem (Goldman) is a more serious consideration. Other cases are also more serious. As a common denominator, fallibility and luck are in play. But philosophers have had the good sense to eliminate arbitrariness from the evidences. For instance the lucky justification in “red barn” is based upon *strong* evidence, unlike the arbitrary and irrelevant correlation of ten coins that is linked for no apparent or obvious reason to the truly reasonable justification for thinking Jones will get the job based upon the boss’ say so. Conjunctive propositions muddy the water and miss the force of the problem in my opinion.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
“Some beliefs like my "cute couple on date" thought experiment and RWD's wonderful"Tarzan" thought experiment show situations where the necessary strict and limited definition of JTB defies intuitions and coomon sense.”

I don’t think my point with the Tarzan example contradicts JTB. Rather, it aimed to show that one can possess sufficient warrant for true beliefs without being able to express it. So, Tarzan can know a vine is in front of him without being able to express his JTB. Just like a child can know she’s in her mother’s arms without being able to express her JTB. Just like a person who doesn’t possess the Scriptures can still know God exists yet without being able to express her justification for her true belief in God.

The point was merely that this claim that you and I objected to is obviously false:

“Therefore, If they can't express it, they don't know it.”

That claim makes the common mistake of confusing (a) having justification for belief in x with (b) the ability to express justification for belief in x.
Well I still think there is good reason to doubt JTB as it relates to our most cherished beliefs. But i agree with everything you said.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I was just giving a cruddy distillation of what I was taught by my UCB professor haha. If he's wrong or I am wrong in understanding the example he gave from the textbook, here is what was given to me in the textbook (I hope this isn't a distraction; thanks for the response):

Suppose that Smith and Jones have applied for a certain job. And suppose that Smith has strong evidence for the following conjunctive proposition: (d) Jones is the man who will get the job, and Jones has ten coins in his pocket. Smith's evidence for (d) might be that the president of the company assured him that Jones would in the end be selected, and that he, Smith, had counted the coins in Jones's pocket ten minutes ago. Proposition (d) entails: (e) The man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket. Let us suppose that Smith sees the entailment from (d) to (e) and accepts (e) on the grounds of (d), for which he has strong evidence. In this case Smith is clearly justified in believing that (e) is true. But imagine, further, that unknown to Smith, he himself, not Jones, will get the job. And also, unknown to Smith, he himself has ten coins in his pocket. Proposition (e) is then true, though proposition (d), from which Smith inferred (e), is false. Gettier concludes that in this case Smith has justified true belief in (e) but doesn't know (e) to be true. It's a matter of luck that he is correct. Other terms like "accidentally correct" or "correct as a matter of sheer coincidence" apply as well. (McGrath, Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction)
Yeah I would say that's true. There's so many other examples it's not funny.
 
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