n Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions - Inquiry into the defining conditions of knowledge claim : an exercise from the perspective of integrative epistemology

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2276-8386
  • E-ISSN: 2408-5987



The search for the proper characterization of the nature of knowledge has remained an endemic problem in the field of epistemology. This search for the constitutive elements of knowledge is a product of the attempt to negate the skeptic's denial of objective knowledge. In his dialogue, Theatetus, Plato defines knowledge as a justified true belief. This definition of knowledge is generally referred to in epistemology as "the traditional or standard account of knowledge" and has been at the centre of all epistemological works. However, in 1963 Edmund L. Gettier called the attention of the epistemological world to the inadequacy of the traditional account of knowledge through a set of thought experiments. The aim of Gettier's essay "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?" is to demonstrate the insufficiency of the conditions of knowledge provided by the traditional account. This implies that Gettier's essay is not a rejection of the three conditions; rather it is a call for the search of a fourth condition. Consequently, all post Gettier epistemological works have been directed towards the search for the fourth condition of knowledge. Against this background, this paper seeks to examine the conditions under which knowledge claims can be duly regarded as proper knowledge. To achieve this aim, the paper attempts a clarification of the concept, 'knowledge'. It also unravels the inadequacy of the traditional conception of knowledge as 'justified true belief' on the basis of one of Gettier's thought experiments. Furthermore, the paper examines (with the aid of thought experiments); three notable attempts by Post-Gettier philosophers to supply the fourth condition of knowledge. And finally, the paper extrapolates on the basis of the inadequacies of the theories examined and the insights from integrativism, the idea of knowledge as "integratively justified true belief".

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