The Tripartite View

The Tripartite View

  • This philosophical standpoint argues that knowledge requires three elements: belief, truth, and justification.
  • It postulates that knowledge is justified true belief (JTB).


  • Belief is a prerequisite for knowledge; a proposition must be believed to be known.
  • Yet belief alone does not constitute knowledge, which differentiates it from mere belief.


  • The tripartite view asserts that one can only know a proposition if it is true.
  • This is based on the concept that knowledge encompasses facts as opposed to falsehoods.


  • Justification is an essential criterion of knowledge as it provides reasons for a belief to be considered knowledge.
  • The strength and source of the justification are subject to much discussion within epistemology.

The Gettier problem

  • This is a key issue related to the tripartite view, brought forth by philosopher Edmund Gettier.
  • The Gettier problem comprises of situations termed Gettier cases, wherein the criteria for JTB are met but the conclusion we’d expect is challenged.
  • These cases expose potential weaknesses in the JTB definition of knowledge.


  • Externalism is a response to the tripartite view, suggesting that justification isn’t always purely cognitive or internal.
  • Some propose a fourth criterion, often reliability, to avoid the Gettier problem.
  • A theory called ‘no false lemmas’ (NFL) proposes that knowledge is a justified true belief not relying on any false statements.

In your review, take special note of the nuances of the three components of the Tripartite View and the different schools of thought that respond to it. Understanding and evaluating these complexities offers a deeper insight into the subject matter.