Volume 53, 2008
Theory of Knowledge
Knowledge without Truth
The inclusion of the truth condition in the definition of knowledge has been responsible for a number of paradoxes. Some epistemologists claim that in the case of knowledge justification entails truth or that belief implies truth as there is a causal relation between truth and belief. Truth hence becomes redundant in the definition of knowledge. I do not drop the truth condition for this reason because this denies the autonomy of the distinct conditions for knowledge. I argue that truth and knowledge are inseparable. However. “that p is true” should not be a necessary condition in the definiens of the definiendum “S knows that p is true.” Whereas the quest of truth is a necessary condition for knowledge. While I drop the truth condition from the definition of knowing that p is true, I do not drop
the condition that p is false from the definition of knowing that p is false. This means that though I may know something that is not true, I cannot know something that is false. This is a compromised revision of the long standing intuition of epistemologists that if I know something then I cannot be wrong. Linda Zagzebski defines knowledge as: “Knowledge is a state of true belief arising out of acts of intellectual virtue.” (Zagzebski, 1996, 271). She has hence dropped the truth condition. Intellectual virtues direct us towards truth but they do not guarantee truth. In the ideal case whatever I know will be true, but in most cases it will be true to the best of my knowledge.