Meaning, Contexts and Justification

Abstract
Contextualism in philosophy of language and in epistemology are two distinct but closely entangled projects. The epistemological thesis is grounded in a semantic claim concerning the context-sensitivity of the predicate “know”: we gain insight into epistemological problems by investigating our linguistic intuitions concerning knowledge attribution sentences. Our aim here is to evaluate the plausibility of a project that takes the opposite starting point: the general idea is to establish the semantic contextualist thesis on the epistemological one. According to semantic contextualism, virtually no sentences of a natural language express complete propositions – meaning underdetermines truth conditions. In our paper, instead of assuming the traditional view of meaning in terms of truth conditions, we suggest that a theory of meaning as justification may shed new light on the contextualist approach. We thus show how the notion of justification can be contextualized, arguing that our attempt provides an interesting and quite straightforward way of contextualizing meaning.
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