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Summary Suppose Sally has good reason to believe that the bank will be open on Saturday. Many epistemologists have thought that she may know this when the stakes are low, but not when they are high. For example, if Sally will be evicted from her home if she doesn't get to the bank on Saturday to deposit a paycheck, then one might argue she doesn't know that the bank will be open. Perhaps she needs to aquire more evidence than normal in order to know. Both invariantists and contextualists have tried to capture such cases, often based on the idea that this is clearly what we would ordinarily say about such cases. On some construals, these are empirical claims which can be further tests by rigorous experimental tools. Researchers have been producing data on ordinary judgments about such cases. Some test vignettes drawn directly from the literature, while others invent new cases to answer new questions that have arisen in light of the studies. The literature is currently in development, so naturally results are somewhat mixed thus far. One thing is clear, however, what epistemologists have thought many non-specialists would say about specific cases has not always been borne out.
Key works Early studies of knowledge attributions in connection with contextualism and invariantism, include: Buckwalter 2010, May et al 2010, and Feltz & Zarpentine 2010, with a major culmination in Schaffer & Knobe 2012. For a systematic, theoretical defense of contextualism in response to these studies, see DeRose 2011.
Introductions Pinillos 2011 provides an excellent overview with a focus on contextualism and invariantism. Buckwalter 2012 and Beebe forthcoming are also useful, though less time is spent on these two theories. 
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  1. Joshua Alexander, Chad Gonnerman & John Waterman (forthcoming). Salience and Epistemic Egocentrism: An Empirical Study. In James Beebe (ed.), Advances in Experimental Epistemology. Continuum.
    Jennifer Nagel (2010) has recently proposed a fascinating account of the decreased tendency to attribute knowledge in conversational contexts in which unrealized possibilities of error have been mentioned. Her account appeals to epistemic egocentrism, or what is sometimes called the curse of knowledge, an egocentric bias to attribute our own mental states to other people (and sometimes our own future and past selves). Our aim in this paper is to investigate the empirical merits of Nagel’s hypothesis about the psychology involved (...)
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  2. James Beebe (ed.) (forthcoming). Advances in Experimental Epistemology. Continuum.
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  3. James Beebe (forthcoming). Experimental Epistemology. In Andrew Cullison (ed.), Companion to Epistemology. Continuum.
    An overview of the main areas of epistemological debate to which experimental philosophers have been contributing and the larger, philosophical challenges these contributions have raised.
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  4. Jessica Brown (2013). Experimental Philosophy, Contextualism and SSI. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2):233-261.
    I will ask the conditional question: if folk attributions of "know" are not sensitive to the stakes and/or the salience of error, does this cast doubt on contextualism or subject-sensitive invariantism (SSI)? I argue that if it should turn out that folk attributions of knowledge are insensitive to such factors, then this undermines contextualism, but not SSI. That is not to say that SSI is invulnerable to empirical work of any kind. Rather, I defend the more modest claim that leading (...)
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  5. Wesley Buckwalter (2014). The Mystery of Stakes and Error in Ascriber Intuitions. In James Beebe (ed.), Advances in Experimental Epistemology. Bloomsbury.
    Research in experimental epistemology has revealed a great, yet unsolved mystery: why do ordinary evaluations of knowledge ascribing sentences involving stakes and error appear to diverge so systematically from the predictions professional epistemologists make about them? Two recent solutions to this mystery by Keith DeRose (2011) and N. Ángel Pinillos (2012) argue that these differences arise due to specific problems with the designs of past experimental studies. This paper presents two new experiments to directly test these responses. Results vindicate previous (...)
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  6. Wesley Buckwalter (2012). Non-Traditional Factors in Judgments About Knowledge. Philosophy Compass 7 (4):278-289.
    One recent trend in contemporary epistemology is to study the way in which the concept of knowledge is actually applied in everyday settings. This approach has inspired an exciting new spirit of collaboration between experimental philosophers and traditional epistemologists, who have begun using the techniques of the social sciences to investigate the factors that influence ordinary judgments about knowledge attribution. This paper provides an overview of some of the results these researchers have uncovered, suggesting that in addition to traditionally considered (...)
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  7. Wesley Buckwalter (2010). Knowledge Isn't Closed on Saturday: A Study in Ordinary Language. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3):395-406.
    Recent theories of epistemic contextualism have challenged traditional invariantist positions in epistemology by claiming that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions fluctuate between conversational contexts. Contextualists often garner support for this view by appealing to folk intuitions regarding ordinary knowledge practices. Proposed is an experiment designed to test the descriptive conditions upon which these types of contextualist defenses rely. In the cases tested, the folk pattern of knowledge attribution runs contrary to what contextualism predicts. While preliminary, these data inspire prima (...)
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  8. Wesley Buckwalter & Jonathan Schaffer (2013). Knowledge, Stakes, and Mistakes. Noûs 47 (1):n/a-n/a.
    According to a prominent claim in recent epistemology, people are less likely to ascribe knowledge to a high stakes subject for whom the practical consequences of error are severe, than to a low stakes subject for whom the practical consequences of error are slight. We offer an opinionated "state of the art" on experimental research about the role of stakes in knowledge judgments. We draw on a first wave of empirical studies--due to Feltz & Zarpentine (2010), May et al (2010), (...)
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  9. Keith DeRose (2011). Contextualism, Contrastivism, and X-Phi Surveys. Philosophical Studies 156 (1):81-110.
    I will here sharply oppose all the phases of the story Schaffer & Knobe tell. In Part 1 we will look at the supposed empirical case against standard contextualism, and in Part 2 we will investigate Schaffer & Knobe’s supposed empirical case for the superiority of contrastivism over standard contextualism.
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  10. Adam Feltz & Chris Zarpentine (2010). Do You Know More When It Matters Less? Philosophical Psychology 23 (5):683–706.
    According to intellectualism, what a person knows is solely a function of the evidential features of the person's situation. Anti-intellectualism is the view that what a person knows is more than simply a function of the evidential features of the person's situation. Jason Stanley (2005) argues that, in addition to “traditional factors,” our ordinary practice of knowledge ascription is sensitive to the practical facts of a subject's situation. In this paper, we investigate this question empirically. Our results indicate that Stanley's (...)
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  11. Nat Hansen (2014). Contrasting Cases. In James Beebe (ed.), Advances in Experimental Epistemology. Bloomsbury. 71-95.
    This paper concerns the philosophical significance of a choice about how to design the context shifting experiments used by contextualists and anti-intellectualists: Should contexts be judged jointly, with contrast, or separately, without contrast? Findings in experimental psychology suggest (1) that certain contextual features are more difficult to evaluate when considered separately, and there are reasons to think that one feature--stakes or importance--that interests contextualists and anti-intellectualists is such a difficult to evaluate attribute, and (2) that joint evaluation of contexts can (...)
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  12. Nat Hansen (2014). Review of When Words Are Called For: A Defense of Ordinary Language Philosophy. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 64 (254):179-181.
  13. Nat Hansen (2013). A Slugfest of Intuitions: Contextualism and Experimental Design. Synthese 190 (10):1771-1792.
    This paper considers ways that experimental design can affect judgments about informally presented context shifting experiments. Reasons are given to think that judgments about informal context shifting experiments are affected by an exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments and by experimenter bias. Exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments may produce experimental artifacts by obscuring important differences of degree between the phenomena being investigated. Experimenter bias is an effect generated when, for example, experimenters disclose (even unconsciously) their own beliefs (...)
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  14. Nat Hansen (2012). On an Alleged Truth/Falsity Asymmetry in Context Shifting Experiments. Philosophical Quarterly 62 (248):530-545.
    Keith DeRose has argued that context shifting experiments should be designed in a specific way in order to accommodate what he calls a ‘truth/falsity asymmetry’. I explain and critique DeRose's reasons for proposing this modification to contextualist methodology, drawing on recent experimental studies of DeRose's bank cases as well as experimental findings about the verification of affirmative and negative statements. While DeRose's arguments for his particular modification to contextualist methodology fail, the lesson of his proposal is that there is good (...)
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  15. Nat Hansen & Emmanuel Chemla (2013). Experimenting on Contextualism. Mind and Language 28 (3):286-321.
    This paper concerns the central method of generating evidence in support of contextualist theories, what we call context shifting experiments. We begin by explaining the standard design of context shifting experiments, which are used in both quantitative surveys and more traditional thought experiments to show how context affects the content of natural language expressions. We discuss some recent experimental studies that have tried and failed to find evidence that confirms contextualist predictions about the results of context shifting experiments, and consider (...)
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  16. Joshua May, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Jay G. Hull & Aaron Zimmerman (2010). Practical Interests, Relevant Alternatives, and Knowledge Attributions: An Empirical Study. [REVIEW] Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):265–273.
    In defending his interest-relative account of knowledge in Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005), Jason Stanley relies heavily on intuitions about several bank cases. We experimentally test the empirical claims that Stanley seems to make concerning our common-sense intuitions about these bank cases. Additionally, we test the empirical claims that Jonathan Schaffer seems to make in his critique of Stanley. We argue that our data impugn what both Stanley and Schaffer claim our intuitions about such cases are. To account for these (...)
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  17. Robin McKenna (forthcoming). Knowledge Ascriptions, Edited by Jessica Brown and Mikkel Gerken. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly.
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  18. Mark Phelan (2013). Evidence That Stakes Don't Matter for Evidence. Philosophical Psychology (4):1-25.
    Evidence that stakes don’t matter for evidence. . ???aop.label???. doi: 10.1080/09515089.2012.733363.
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  19. N. Ángel Pinillos (forthcoming). Knowledge, Experiments and Practical Interests. In Jessica Brown & MIkkel Gerken (eds.), New Essays On Knowledge Ascriptions. Oxford University Press.
    Recently, some philosophers have defended the idea that knowledge is an interest-relative notion. According to this thesis, whether an agent knows P may depend on the practical costs of her being wrong about P. This perspective marks a radical departure from traditional accounts that take knowledge to be a purely intellectual concept. I think there is much to say on behalf of the interest-relative notion. In this paper, I report on some new evidence which strongly suggests that ordinary people’s attributions (...)
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  20. N. Ángel Pinillos (2011). Some Recent Work in Experimental Epistemology. Philosophy Compass 6 (10):675-688.
    In this paper I survey some recent developments in experimental philosophy and discuss their bearing on two leading theories in epistemology: Contextualism and Interest Relative Invariantism. In the first part of the paper, I survey some general issues of how experimental philosophy may be relevant to assessing contextualism and IRI. In the second part, I discuss and critique some of the recent experimental work.
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  21. Patrick Rysiew (2011). Surveys, Intuitions, Knowledge Attributions. Philosophical Studies 156 (1):111-120.
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  22. Jonathan Schaffer & Joshua Knobe (2012). Contrastive Knowledge Surveyed. Noûs 46 (4):675-708.
    Suppose that Ann says, “Keith knows that the bank will be open tomorrow.” Her audience may well agree. Her knowledge ascription may seem true. But now suppose that Ben—in a different context—also says “Keith knows that the bank will be open tomorrow.” His audience may well disagree. His knowledge ascription may seem false. Indeed, a number of philosophers have claimed that people’s intuitions about knowledge ascriptions are context sensitive, in the sense that the very same knowledge ascription can seem true (...)
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  23. Chandra Sekhar Sripada & Jason Stanley (2012). Empirical tests of interest-relative invariantism. Episteme 9 (1):3-26.
    According to Interest-Relative Invariantism, whether an agent knows that p, or possesses other sorts of epistemic properties or relations, is in part determined by the practical costs of being wrong about p. Recent studies in experimental philosophy have tested the claims of IRI. After critically discussing prior studies, we present the results of our own experiments that provide strong support for IRI. We discuss our results in light of complementary findings by other theorists, and address the challenge posed by a (...)
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