Intergalactic Investigative Reporter

Monday, June 13, 2005

"Justified True Belief"?

In a comment in another blog it is suggested that I learn something about "Justified True Belief". That is damn near an oxymoron. Truth is not to be believed it is to be known. Belief is nothing more than a glorified opinion. Belief is the bottom rung of the ladder of truth. Belief and faith are bandied about as if they are the cornerstone of existence. They are the cornerstone of man's attempts to justify his actions. Al-Qaeda believes the more infidels they kill will secure their place in heaven. They have "Justified True Beliefs". George Bush believes that The war in Iraq was justified because Saddam Hussein was not a nice guy. Dubya has "Justified True Beliefs". Belief is the beginning of the search for truth. It is not the end.


Blogger Paul Kimball said...


I believe the war in Iraq was justified, and not just because Saddam was a "bad guy" (Bush's reasons are a little more complex than that, too).


Tuesday, June 14, 2005 1:37:00 PM

Blogger Terry Groff said...

I wish those reasons were clearer to me. His initial major reason (WMDs) turned out to be bogus. There has never been a legitimate connection made between Hussein and 9/11. Iraq didn't attacked us.

We let a legitimate reason slip through our fingers when we opted to not go in to Baghdad during the Gulf war. We also could have prevented some of Husseins murders if Bush Sr. hadn't turned his back on the Kurds who were trying to escape.

The war has created more terrorists than it's eliminated.

I believe Bush picked Iraq back in 2002 because he knew he could whip its wimpy army's butt.

I think we had (and have) far more to fear from Korea and Iran than we ever had from Iraq. But we don't dare invade them.

Again, though, these are only "beliefs" and I could be wrong. But they seem to qualify as "Justified True Beliefs"


Tuesday, June 14, 2005 2:06:00 PM

Blogger Kyle said...

Terry -

Excellent post, but I have to disagree on your description of "belief".

Truth does not require belief. The world was round when the ENTIRE world believed it was not.

Even when we realized it was round, we STILL believed the sun revolved around the earth.

Belief is not the lowest rung on the ladder of is nowhere near the ladder.

Truth is that the sun will rise tomorrow. Belief is thinking you know WHY.

Belief is a thing you have or not. Truth remains unaffected either way.

When we begin to let our beliefs be the determining factor in what we call truth, very bad things happen...the Holocaust, the Crusades, Slavery, Manifest Destiny, Viet Nam, 9/11, the War on Terror...all these things were justified when belief was substituted for truth.

Only hindsight glaringly reveals the real truth. Belief even blinds hindsight...often.

Excellent post nonetheless. Your main thesis I agree with wholeheartedly.



Friday, July 08, 2005 2:26:00 AM

Blogger Terry Groff said...

Perhaps "belief" is the wrong word after all. Maybe "theory" should have been used.

An incorrect theory can still lead to discovery. If an experiment to test a theory fails, it is just as important as if the experiment were successful.

"Belief" could be a theory that some people are just too stubborn to test or unwilling to accept the results of an experiment that proves their belief wrong.

Friday, July 08, 2005 8:22:00 AM

Blogger Aion said...

Terry, I might ask you what differentiates an opinion from a belief.

In aristotelean logic, one cannot proceed from a false premise. The later Stoa monkeyed around with this, and essentially 'flipped' the set. That's enough hints for one day. ;)

Sunday, September 25, 2005 11:10:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Justified True Belief is a common philosophical formulation for knowledge. I don't know how appropriate it was for the person to refer you to it. But there are plenty of links covering it if you do a search.
But you have to have a belief first and then you can judge if it's true or not. JTB merely says that a belief is knowledge if and only if it is justified and if it's true.
There have been problems with JTB, most especially Gettier's paper (which can also be searched).
What constitutes knowledge is actually a rather thorny problem among philosophers.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 3:12:00 PM


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