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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 41, Issue Supplement, 2016

Selected Papers in Honor of William P. Alston

Thomas D. Senor
Pages 91-109

The Knowledge-As-Perception Account of Knowledge
A Prolegomenon

William Alston once argued that justification is not necessary for knowledge. He was convinced of this because he thought that, in cases of clear perception, one could come to know that P even if one’s justification for believing P was defeated. The idea is that the epistemic strength of clear perception is sufficient to provide knowledge even where justification is lacking; perceiving (and believing) that P is sufficient for knowing that P. In this paper, I explore a claim about knowledge that is the opposite side of the coin from Alston’s position: clear perception (with belief) that P is necessary for knowledge. Taking my cue from John Locke, I examine the plausibility of a theory of knowledge that distinguishes justified true unGettiered belief that P from knowing that P. Although I don’t fully advocate this position, I argue that it has significant plausibility, and that the initially troubling consequences of the account are not as problematic as one might have suspected.

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