Beliefs and Causes

  • Colin Cheyne
Part of the The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 67)


In this chapter I explore various objections to the claim that for a belief to count as knowledge it must have been caused in some way. First, in this section, I consider the claim that many beliefs are uncaused and yet they can still constitute knowledge. If beliefs can be uncaused and if such uncaused beliefs can be items of knowledge, then both the strong causal condition:
  • (SC) S knows that p only if the fact that p is causally connected to S’s belief that p,

and the weaker causal condition:
  • (WC) S knows that p only if S’s that p was caused in an ‘appropriate’ way.


Rational Agent Free Choice Causal Chain Causal Condition Causal Theory 
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  1. 1.
    My arguments are developed from Kitcher (1984, pp. 13–17).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Musgrave (1989 pp. 332–33) for more on this distinction.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Musgrave (1993, p. 251) makes a similar point.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Cheyne
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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