Chapter

Words, Concepts and Epistemology

Jessica Brown

in Knowledge Ascriptions

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693702
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741265 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693702.003.0002
Words, Concepts and Epistemology

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This chapter examines the relation between the subject matter and methodology of epistemology. According to a currently popular conception, the subject matter of epistemology is nonconceptual and nonlinguistic. As it sometimes put, epistemologists are interested in the nature of knowledge itself, not the concept of knowledge or the word ‘knowledge’. Despite this, contemporary epistemologists continue to make central appeal to linguistic considerations and judgements about thought experiments. Some argue that the nature of epistemology’s subject matter undermines the appeal to linguistic considerations and thought-experiment judgements whether studied from the armchair or empirically (e.g. Kornblith). Others seem to detect no tension between the subject matter claim and the methodology of the discipline (e.g. Jackson and Williamson). The task of this chapter is to clarify the subject matter claim and examine whether it undermines the appeal to linguistic considerations and thought-experiment judgements in epistemology.

Keywords: methodology; epistemology; thought experiments; language

Chapter.  11744 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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