more from Michael Williams

Single Idea 3569

[catalogued under 13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 2. Causal Justification]

Full Idea

According to Goldman's early causal theory of knowledge, my belief that p counts as knowledge if and only if it is caused by the fact that p. This is sufficient as well as necessary, and so does not involve justification.

Gist of Idea

In the causal theory of knowledge the facts must cause the belief


Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 2)

Book Reference

Williams,Michael: 'Problems of Knowledge' [OUP 2001], p.29

A Reaction

I take his theory simply to be false because what causes a belief is not what justifies it. I expect my mother to ring; the phone rings; I 'know' it is my mother (and it is), because I strongly expect it.