Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 55, No. 219, April 2005

The Review of Metaphysics, September 2005 | Go to article overview

Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 55, No. 219, April 2005


Epistemological Contextualism: Problems and Prospects, MICHAEL BRADY and DUNCAN PRITCHARD

Epistemological contextualism has become one of the most important and widely discussed new proposals in the theory of knowledge. This special issue contributes to the debate by bringing together some of the main participants to provide a state-of-the-art discussion of the proposal. Here these authors offer a brief overview of the contextualist position, describe some of the main lines of criticism that have been leveled against the view, and present a summary of each of the contributions to this collection.

The Ordinary Language Basis for Contextualism, and the New Invariantism, KEITH DEROSE

The author of this article presents the features of the ordinary use of "knows" that make a compelling case for the contextualist account of that verb, and he outlines and defends the methodology that takes us from the data to a contextualist conclusion. Along the way, the superiority of contextualism over subject-sensitive invariantism is defended, and, in the final section, some objections to contextualism are answered.

Knowledge, Speaker and Subject, STEWART COHEN

The author of this paper contrasts two solutions to the lottery paradox concerning knowledge, contextualism and subject-sensitive invariantism. He defends contextualism against an objection that it cannot explain how "knows" and its cognates function inside propositional attitude reports. It is then argued that subject-sensitive invariantism fails to provide a satisfactory resolution of the paradox.

Contextualism, Subject-Sensitive Invariantism and Knowledge of Knowledge, TIMOTHY WILLIMSON

This article schematizes the evidence for an understanding of "know" and of other terms of epistemic appraisal that embody contextualism or subject-sensitive invariantism, and distinguishes between those two approaches. Section 2 argues that although the cases for contextualism and sensitive invariantism rely on a principle of charity in the interpretation of epistemic claims, neither approach satisfies charity fully, since both attribute metalinguistic errors to speakers. Section 3 provides an equally charitable antiskeptical insensitive invariantist explanation of much of the same evidence as the result of psychological bias caused by salience effects. Section 4 suggests that the explanation appears to have implausible consequences about practical reasoning, but also that applications of contextualism or sensitive invariantism to the problem of skepticism have such consequences. Section 5 argues that the inevitable difference between appropriateness and knowledge of appropriateness in practical reasoning, closely related to the difference between knowledge and knowledge of knowledge, explains the apparent implausibility.

Contextualism and Scepticism: Even-Handedness, Factivity, and Surreptitiously Raising Standards, CRISPIN WRIGHT

The central contentions of this paper are two: first, that contextualism about knowledge cannot fulfill the eirenic promise which, for those who are drawn to it, constitutes its main attraction; second, that the basic diagnosis of epistemological skepticism as somehow entrapping us, by diverting attention from a surreptitious shift to a special rarefied intellectual context, rests on inattention to the details of the principal skeptical paradoxes. These contentions are consistent with knowledge-contextualism, of some stripe or other, being true. What follows will not bear directly on that.

Adapt or Die: The Death of Invariantism? JESSICA BROWN

Contextualists support their view by appeal to cases which show that whether an attribution of knowledge seems correct depends on attributor factors. Contextualists conclude that the truth-conditions of knowledge attributions depend on the attributor's context. Invariantists respond that these cases show only that the warranted assertability-conditions of knowledge attributions depend on the attributor's context. …

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Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 55, No. 219, April 2005
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