There are philosophers (e.g. John Greco) who argue that knowledge is to be seen as an cognitive
achievement/cognitive success. In this view, knowledge is a true belief which is gained because of certain skills (‘intellectual virtues’ to put it broadly) that the agent possess. According to the proponents of this view, the major advantage of this theory over the rest is the following. They claim that this definition of knowloedge is free from the threat of ‘Gettierasitation’. At the first glance, this account looks like an intuitive one. However, a closer inspection would reveal that the definition is inadequate in capturing all instances of knowledge (such as testimonial knowledge). Apart from that, this definition is not free from all sorts of ‘Gettieraisations’ (such as in the presence of environmental luck).In short, ‘being an achievement’ is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for knowledge.
Suppose that a person namely Dayal, who is completely unfamiliar with Hyderabad, reached at the Hyderabad railway station. He asked to some stranger that where the University of Hyderabad (UoH) is located. Dayal got the right information about the location of UoH and he formed his belief accordingly. In usual cases Dayal’s true belief would count as knowledge. However we cannot call it as Dayal’s cognitive achievement. At best it is a mixture of the cognitive achievements of the person who provided the information and of Dayal (suppose that the person has gone to the UoH personally). Thus the thesis that knowledge is a cognitive achievement fails to capture such instances of knowledge.
Some have argued that the above held definition of knowledge is not immune to certain Gettier cases as well. This definition of knowledge is certainly immune to Gettier cases where the difficulty in calling a justified true belief as knowledge arises due to the intervention of some factor and hence the belief formed turns out to be true merely out of luck. As we are familiar from the Gettier cases, the presence of luck rules out the possibility of knowledge. However, the above mentioned account of knowledge is not immune to what might be called ‘environmental luck’. Let me present an example to make this point. Suppose that Abhishek is a shooter who has excellent skill in shooting. There are ten targets arranged in different positions. Abhishek choose one target and he shot at and was successful in hitting the target. Here, Abhishek’s hitting the target is because of his skill and hence is his achievement. Now, further suppose that all the targets except the one Abhishek hits has a magnetic field which will carry divert the direction of the bullet. Only out of luck it happened to be the case that Abhishek chose the target which was free from the presence of magnetic field. If we apply similar cases in belief forming instances, though the true belief formed is an achievement, the presence luck involved will prevent it from qualifying as knowledge(remember the fake barn example). (However, if we consider the knowing-how instances, it is doubtful whether we can conclude from the above example that Abhishek does not know how to shoot.) The above given examples and arguments shows that, ‘being an achievement’ is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for knowledge.