Believing what the Man Says about His Own Feelings

Benjamin McMyler

in The Philosophy of J. L. Austin

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199219759
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191730818 | DOI:
Believing what the Man Says about His Own Feelings

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Inspired by Austin’s ‘Other Minds’, this paper argues that what is said by means of ‘indicative’ sentences featuring ‘know that’ or one of its cognates is inseparable from what is done with them. As opposed to contemporary contextualists who also draw their inspiration from Austin and who argue that the truth conditions (and value) of knowledge ascriptions depend on the context in which they are made, however, this paper argues that in a central range of contexts in which knowledge ascriptions are made the question of their truth and falsity is out of place. In another central range of contexts the question does naturally arise, but in a form that does not fit common contextualist accounts. Forcing the question of truth and falsity unnaturally and from a purely theoretical position, the paper concludes, has prevented both contextualism and invariantism from coming up with a truly satisfying response to traditional scepticism.

Keywords: J. L. Austin; knowledge; contextualism; invariantism; scepticism

Chapter.  18081 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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