Advertisement

A Contradiction for Contextualism?

  • Peter BaumannEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 369)

Abstract

Epistemic contextualism concerning knowledge says that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions (including denials of knowledge) vary with the context of the attributor. There have been recently quite a number of objections to contextualism. One objection, however, has not been discussed much at all even though it might be the most serious one so far: the so-called “Factivity Objection” according to which contextualism is inconsistent at its core. This objection has been developed mainly by Elke Brendel and Crispin Wright. In previous work I defended the idea that there is a problem but also proposed a solution, namely a relationalist version of contextualism. In this paper I will first present the problem and then discuss some proposed solutions (some of them denying that there is a problem in the first place) before I move on to my own proposal of a solution.

Keywords

Epistemic contextualism Knowledge attributions Factivity objection Relational contextualism Epistemic closure 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Joachim Aufderheide, Anthony Bruecker, Christopher T. Buford, Nick Fenn, Carrie Jenkins, Darrell Rowbottom, Martin Montminy, Joe Salerno, Timothy Williamson, Crispin Wright, anonymous referees, and audiences at a conference on contextualism at the University of Stirling (March 20–21, 2004), at the Joint Session at the University of Manchester (July 8–11, 2005), a discussion group at the Aberdeen Philosophy Department, and at a workshop on Epistemology, Context, Formalism at the Université Nancy 2 (November 12–14, 2009).

References

  1. Bach, K. (2005). The emperor’s new “knows”. In G. Preyer & G. Peter (Eds.), Contextualism in philosophy: Knowledge, meaning, and truth. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  2. Baumann, P. (2008). Contextualism and the factivity problem. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 76, 580–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumann, P. (2010). Factivity and contextualism. Analysis, 70(1), 82–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baumann, P. (2011). Epistemic closure. In S. Bernecker & D. Pritchard (Eds.), The Routledge companion to epistemology (pp. 597–608). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Brendel, E. (2003). Was Kontextualisten nicht wissen. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, 51, 1015–1032.Google Scholar
  6. Brendel, E. (2005). Why contextualists cannot know they are right: Self-refuting implications of contextualism. Acta Analytica, 20–2(35), 38–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brueckner, A. (2004). The elusive virtues of contextualism. Philosophical Studies, 118, 401–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brueckner, A., & Buford, C.T. (2009). Contextualism, ssi, and the factivity problem. Analysis, 69, 431–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brueckner, A., & Buford, C.T. (2010). Reply to Baumann on factivity and contextualism. Analysis, 70(3), 486–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohen, S. (1987). Knowledge, context, and social standards. Synthese, 73, 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen, S. (2005). Knowledge, speaker and subject. Philosophical Quarterly, 55, 199–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DeRose, K. (1995). Solving the skeptical problem. The Philosophical Review, 104, 1–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DeRose, K. (1999). Contextualism: An explanation and defense. In J. Greco & E. Sosa (Eds.), The Blackwell guide to epistemology. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. DeRose, K. (2009). The case for contextualism, vol. 1: Knowledge, skepticism, and context. Oxford: Clarendon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Engel, M. (2005). A noncontextualist account of contextualist linguistic data. Acta Analytica, 20–2(35), 57–79.Google Scholar
  16. Kallestrup, J. (2005). Contextualism between scepticism and common-sense. Grazer Philosophische Studien, 69(1), 247–253.Google Scholar
  17. Kompa, N. (2005). The semantics of knowledge attributions. Acta Analytica, 20–1(34), 16–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lewis, D. (1996). Elusive knowledge. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 74, 549–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lihoreau, F., & Rebuschi, M. (2009). Contextualism and the factivity of knowledge. In D. Łukasiewicz & R. Pouivet (Eds.), Scientific knowledge and common knowledge. Bydgoszcz: Publishing House Epigram and University of Kazimierz Wielki Press.Google Scholar
  20. Luper, S. (2003). Indiscernibility skepticism. In S. Luper (Ed.), The skeptics: Contemporary essays. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  21. Montminy, M. (2008). Can contextualists maintain neutrality? Philosophers’ Imprint, 8, 1–13.Google Scholar
  22. Rysiew, P. (2009). Epistemic contextualism. In E.N. Zalta (Ed.), The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Stanford: Stanford University.Google Scholar
  23. Schaffer, J. (2005). Contrastive knowledge. In T.S. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Oxford studies in epistemology, vol. 1, (pp. 235–271). Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  24. Sosa, E. (2004). Relevant alternatives, contextualism included. Philosophical Studies, 119, 35–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Steup, M. (2005). Contextualism and conceptual disambiguation. Acta Analytica, 20–1(34), 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Veber, M. (2004). Contextualism and semantic ascent. The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 42, 261–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Williamson, T. (2001). Comments on Michael Williams’ “Contextualism, Externalism and Epistemic Standards”. Philosophical Studies, 103, 25–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wright, C. (2005). Contextualism and scepticism: Even-handedness, factivity and surreptitiously raising standards. Philosophical Quarterly, 55, 236–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySwarthmore CollegeSwarthmoreUSA

Personalised recommendations