My new book, published by Public Philosophy Press, Reason and Proper Function: A Response to Alvin Plantinga, has been released. The book may be ordered on Amazon or from any book retailer. Here is a blurb from the back of the book.
Philosopher, Edmund Gettier, famously challenged the sufficiency of the justified true belief (JTB) formulation of knowledge with his 1963 paper “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”. The “Gettier problem” has been a potential source of skepticism for many students of philosophy. Alvin Plantinga, seeking in part to address the fallout from the challenge Gettier poses to contemporary epistemology, proposes that there is an error with the way we have been envisioning what knowledge is.
Plantinga, in his three-volume set on Warrant, argues that justification is not necessary for knowledge. Instead, what he offers is warrant, where a true belief becomes knowledge by virtue of its being formed by cognitive faculties functioning properly in an appropriate environment and according to a good design plan. Plantinga’s new formulation of knowledge does not avoid skepticism.
Kelly Fitzsimmons Burton, in this small volume, provides critical analysis of the element of “proper function” in Plantinga’s reformulation of the definition of knowledge. She argues that reason in itself, as the laws of thought, cannot malfunction, nor can our cognitive faculties, or our use of reason. She argues that we should retain the original JTB account of knowledge with an added “carefulness criterion” to address some legitimate concerns raised by the Gettier problem.