Knowledge as True and Justified Conviction. Is this bastion still worth defending?

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Mateusz W. Oleksy


In this article I critically analyze the traditional concept of knowledge as true and justified conviction (TJC). I consider the conditions of conviction, truth, and justification, arguing that although these conditions (at least the first two, properly formulated) can be defended as necessary conditions of sentential knowledge, they do not together constitute a sufficient condition for knowledge. The principal aim of the article is to show that although TJC may be presented in a fairly trivial form, the fundamental epistemological claim that lies at the basis of this understanding of knowledge and makes it so attractive is indefensible. The most important of these presuppositions are the individualistic prejudice: that conviction is an isolated mental state; the objectivistic illusion: that truth imposes upon knowledge certain essential epistemic features; the internalist dogma: that justification must be available from the point of view of the first person; and the myth of the universal structure of empirical justification. In analyzing the various difficulties connected with TJC, I call attention to some of the most important controversies present in contemporary epistemology (the individualist-atomistic vs. the social-holistic conception of sentential content, the dispute about the definition of the truth, externalism vs. internalism regarding the issue of justification and truthfulness, etc.) . I am inclined to favor the externalist-social conception of knowledge.


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Oleksy, Mateusz W. 2005. “Knowledge As True and Justified Conviction. Is This Bastion Still Worth Defending?”. Diametros, no. 6 (December):19-48.
Author Biography

Mateusz W. Oleksy

Mateusz W. Oleksy, drKatedra Epistemologii i Filozofii NaukiUniwersytet ŁódzkiWażniejsze publikacje:1. "Cognition, language and praxis. Is cognitive linguistics on the verge of the practical turn?", forthcoming in the collection edited by Ronald Langacker and Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk.2. "Spór o podstawę", Principia t. XXX-XXXI, Kraków 2001, ss. 135-145.3. "Od realizmu do arealizmu (I). Epistemologiczny problem realizmu - zagadnienie z podwójnym dnem”, Filozofia Nauki, 3-4/2002: 41-53.4. "Od realizmu do arealizmu (II). Realizm epistemologiczny przez lingwistyczny judasz”, Filozofia Nauki, 1/2003: 75-88.5. "Od realizmu do arealizmu (III). Deflacyjne rozwiązanie problematyki realizmu w filozofii powittgensteinowskiej”, Filozofia Nauki, 2/2003: 25-38.6. "Użycie znaku i jego interpretacja. Semiotyka Peirce'a w kontekście krytyki 'modelu przedstawienia'”, Studia Semiotyczne XXV, 2004, ss. 273-291.7. "Z genealogii realizmu pragmatycznego Ch.S. Peirce's”, [w:] Obrona realizmu w filozofii współczesnej i nowożytnej, T. Sieczkowski & B. Tuchańska (red.), Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego 2004, ss. 67-90.8. "An almost lost cause of a battle against metaphysics. Deconstruction and deflation on the common track", [w:] Deconstruction and Reconstruction.The Central European Pragmatist Forum, Volume Two, J. Ryder & K. Wilkoszewska (red.), Rodopi, Amsterdam/New York, 2004.
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