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Robert Nozick's Tracking Theory Of Knowledge In Philosophical Explanations

791 words - 4 pages

In his “Philosophical Explanations”, Robert Nozick produced his tracking theory of knowledge. This externalist theory is used to explain how through truth tracking we can obtain knowledge. He states that what we use to learn of the truth is the method. But Nozick denies the importance of methods in his theory, to the point were does not even believe that we have to know what the method is. Instead, Nozick allows us to use any method we wish to, so long as we only use one. But not all methods are reliable, and therefore don’t allow for us to be justified. As such Nozick’s theory fails since it does not limit the methods that can be used, which makes it so that if we follow the theory we will not necessarily gain knowledge but only a true belief.
The tracking theory of knowledge has four steps. The first step is a proposition is true . Step two is that someone believes the proposition. He states that a connection between truth and belief act as justification. This connection is steps three and four. Step three is that if the proposition is false, then someone will not believe it . While step four states that if the proposition is true, then someone will believe it . An additional fifth step is added later in the text which states that we must only use one method when coming gaining knowledge as the two or more methods may contradict each other and not allow us to have a proper knowledge of the subject .
After seeing Nozick’s tracking theory, we can conclude that Nozick does not care what method is used. This is seen by the fact that Nozick makes no mention of any limitations. In fact Nozick states that we don’t even have to know which method is used . This makes sense as this is an externalist theory and externalism states that we do not need to distinctly know something in our mind to justify our knowing it . Thus Nozick does not care about methods.
This is strange as the method allows for justification. As the way we come to know step one, we must have a proper method. If the method was unreliable then we cannot claim that we actually know step one, and therefore have no knowledge as it is unjustified. Then not all methods can lead to justification. For example,...

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