A Contradiction for Contextualism?

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


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.


Epistemic contextualism Knowledge attributions Factivity objection Relational contextualism Epistemic closure 



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).


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySwarthmore CollegeSwarthmoreUSA

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