What is Justified Belief?

  • Alvin I. Goldman
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series in Philosophy book series (PSSP, volume 17)


The aim of this paper is to sketch a theory of justified belief. What I have in mind is an explanatory theory, one that explains in a general way why certain beliefs are counted as justified and others as unjustified. Unlike some traditional approaches, I do not try to prescribe standards for justification that differ from, or improve upon, our ordinary standards. I merely try to explicate the ordinary standards, which are, I believe, quite different from those of many classical, e. g., ‘Cartesian’, accounts.


True Belief Justify Belief Wishful Thinking Justificational Status Reliable Process 
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  1. ‘A Causal Theory of Knowing,’ The Journal of Philosophy 64, 12 (June 22, 1967): 357–372Google Scholar
  2. Innate Knowledge,’ in S. P. Stich, ed., Innate Ideas (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975)Google Scholar
  3. Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge,’ The Journal of Philosophy 73, 20 (November 18, 1976), 771–791.Google Scholar
  4. This assumption violates the thesis that Davidson calls ‘The Anomalism of the Mental’. Cf. ‘Mental Events,’ in L. Foster and J. W. Swanson, , Experience and Theory (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1970).Google Scholar
  5. Keith Lehrer’s example of the gypsy lawyer is intended to show the inappropriateness of a causal requirement. (See Knowledge, Oxford: University Press, 1974, pp. 124–125.)Google Scholar
  6. Alvin I. Goldman and Jaegwon Kim, eds., Values and Morals, Essays in Honor of William Frankena, Charles Stevenson, and Richard Brandt ( Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1978 ).Google Scholar

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© D. Riedel Publishing Company 1979

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  • Alvin I. Goldman

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