Chapter

Contextualism

Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath

in Knowledge in an Uncertain World

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199550623
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722684 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550623.003.0003
Contextualism

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According to epistemic contextualism, the content of a knowledge attribution varies with the context of the knowledge attributor. Therefore, whether a subject is truly said to have knowledge can vary across speech contexts. This chapter evaluates the prospects for contextualism, in particular the arguments of Keith DeRose and Stewart Cohen. It discusses whether contextualism alone allows fallibilists to escape the madness of fallibilism without requiring pragmatic encroachment on knowledge. The chapter concludes that whether the fallibilist should go contextualist or ‘pragmatist’ depends on whether there is a good principled case for something like the idle doubts thesis — the thesis that knowing a proposition p requires a probability which need not be 1 but is high enough to make the chance of not-p idle, both to belief and to action.

Keywords: contextualism; fallibilism; knowledge; pragmatic encroachment; Keith DeRose; Stewart Cohen

Chapter.  13403 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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