Knowledge and epistemic justification: an appraisal of Robert Nozick's truth-tracking theory
In this study we make an attempt to address the traditional problem of epistemic justification by interrogating Robert Nozick's truth-tracking theory of knowledge. We seek to answer the question: 'when and how do we know that we know, or what is it to say that we know?' Plato's traditional analysis of knowledge as Justified True Belief (JTB) has in the course of history proved insufficient to account for the justification of claims we make about reality. The main critic of the theory is Edmund Gettier who argues that JTB may not conceptually be the same as knowledge and vice versa since JTB may include cases ofluck and guesswork. Nozick, in seeking to salvage JTB from Gettier, assumes that the agent already has truth conditions enabling him to track truth. However, in failing to state the truth conditions of his theory, Nozick makes it impossible for the agent to track truth since the agent does not have the conditions of truth. In interrogating Nozick's theory, we seek to appraise the theory to find the conditions of truth the basis of which Nozick founds his tracking formula. The study employs material interpretation of truth-functionality of conditional propositions to establish the truth conditions upon which Nozick.'s theory is founded. In so doing, the research asserts the primacy of truth in the analysis of knowledge since knowledge is expressed as true propositions. The study further takes cognizance of social truth and its relevance in the sociological operations of man; to this extent, the study investigates the idea of truth as socially determined. It is concluded that despite appraising truth-tracking theory by identifying truth conditions of the theory, the problem of confirming 't;uth and its existence is not addressed owing to the set objectives of the study. It is recommended that future researchers should take up the challenge of examining the problem of the existence of truth hence should attempt a formulation of a truth-confirming theory since it is requisite to confirm and explain truth before we can even track it.