Philosophy Index

Alvin Goldman

Alvin Goldman (1938– ) is an American professor of philosophy, best known for his contributions to epistemology.

Goldman currently teaches at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.


Goldman contributed to epistemology a causal theory of knowledge, which provided a new account of what knowledge is, in response to the Gettier counterexamples.

Goldman also presented a commonly-used counterexample invented by Carl Ginet, which, unlike Gettier’s examples, does not rely on an inference from a false premise. Ginet’s example is known as the barn-façades example, and presented Goldman’s causal theory with a counterexample.

Goldman is also interested in the social aspects of epistemology, and currently serves as editor of Episteme, A Journal of Social Epistemology.

Selected Works

  • Action (1965)
  • “A Causal Theory of Knowing” (1967)
  • A Theory of Human Action (1970)
  • “Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge” (1976)
  • “What is Justified Belief?” (1979)
  • Epistemology and Cognition (1986)
  • Simulating Minds (2006)


Name: Alvin I. Goldman
Born: 1938
Degrees: Ph.D. (Princeton University, 1965)
MA (Princeton University, 1962)
BA Summa cum laude (Columbia University, 1960)