© 2018

Description of Situations

An Essay in Contextualist Epistemology


  • Approaches classic epistemological problems from a context-sensitive perspective

  • Explores in a fresh way the works of key thinkers in epistemology

  • Introduces a new contextualist thought-experiment for dealing with moral questions


Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 1-9
  3. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 11-17
  4. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 19-26
  5. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 27-33
  6. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 35-40
  7. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 41-48
  8. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 49-56
  9. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 57-63
  10. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 65-71
  11. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 73-79
  12. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 81-88
  13. Nuno Venturinha
    Pages 89-94
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 95-96

About this book


This book approaches classic epistemological problems from a contextualist perspective. The author takes as his point of departure the fact that we are situated beings, more specifically that every single moment in our lives is already given within the framework of a specific context in the midst of which we understand ourselves and what surrounds us.

In the process of his investigation, the author explores, in a fresh way, the works of key thinkers in epistemology. These include Bernard Bolzano, René Descartes, Gottlob Frege, Edmund Husserl, Immanuel Kant and Ludwig Wittgenstein, but also contemporary authors such as Stewart Cohen, Keith DeRose, David Lewis, Duncan Pritchard, Ernest Sosa and Charles Travis. Some of the topics covered are attributions of knowledge, the correspondence theory of truth, objectivity and subjectivity, possible worlds, primary and secondary evidence, scepticism, transcendentalism and relativism. The book also introduces a new contextualist thought-experiment for dealing with moral questions.

Contextualism has received a great deal of attention in contemporary epistemology. It has the potential to resolve a number of issues that traditional epistemological approaches cannot address. In particular, a contextualist view opens the way to an understanding of those cognitive processes that require situational information to be fully grasped. However, contextualism poses serious difficulties in regard to epistemic invariance. This book offers readers an innovative approach to some fundamental questions in this field.


Contextualist Epistemology Epistemic Modality Knowledge and Evidence Moral Contextualism Possible Worlds Truth as Correspondence Ludwig Wittgenstein Transcendentalism Generalization of descriptions Sensation-thoughts Ontological intertwinedness Helmholtz Unconscious Inferences Disclosure principle

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy/IFILNOVA, Faculty of Social Sciences and HumanitiesNova University of LisbonLisbonPortugal

About the authors

Nuno Venturinha is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Nova University of Lisbon. He has taught as a visiting lecturer at the University of Lisbon and as a visiting professor at the Universities of São Paulo and Valencia. He was also a visiting researcher on various occasions at the Universities of Bergen, Innsbruck, Oxford, Cambridge and Helsinki. His current work concentrates on a variety of issues in epistemology. He is the author of Lógica, Ética, Gramática: Wittgenstein e o Método da Filosofia (INCM, 2010), and the editor of Wittgenstein After His Nachlass (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) and The Textual Genesis of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations (Routledge, 2013)

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Description of Situations
  • Book Subtitle An Essay in Contextualist Epistemology
  • Authors Nuno Venturinha
  • Series Title SpringerBriefs in Philosophy
  • Series Abbreviated Title SpringerBriefs Philosophy
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-00153-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-00154-4
  • Series ISSN 2211-4548
  • Series E-ISSN 2211-4556
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXIII, 96
  • Number of Illustrations 43 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Epistemology
    Philosophy of Language
    Moral Philosophy
    History of Philosophy
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