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The study of knowledge and rules of evidence involved. Traditionally a branch of philosophy, it also describes a discipline incorporated in, and in some respects peculiar to, individual fields of scholarship (medicine, science, history, etc.).


The theory, study of, and basis for knowledge; that which investigates the origin, nature, methods, validity and limits of human knowledge.

epistemology (·pisˈ·t·mäˑ·l·jē),

n that branch of philosophy that scrutinizes the nature, foundations, and limits of knowledge.
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If evidence required only justified true belief, or some other good cognitive status short of knowledge, then a critical mass of evidence would set off a kind of chain reaction.
Gettier, Edmund 1963: "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?
The verb "to know" is a success verb in two ways: only justified true belief counts as knowledge, but even then only if the justification and the truth of the belief aren't "decoupled" from one another.
If justification is infallible its role as a route to true belief is transparent; but, when fallible justification is at issue, that role demands attention, as Gettier showed in revealing the gap between (fallibly) justified true belief and knowledge.
But in such cases the truth of the (justified) belief is just accidental, and such justified true belief will not amount to knowledge.
We could say that defenders of the two standard approaches agree that knowledge is justified true belief whose justification is not defeated by misleading conditions (conditions conducive to justified error).
At the beginning of the book Musgrave frames what follows with arguments supporting a justified true belief account of knowledge.