Externalism and modest contextualism

Erkenntnis 61 (2-3):173 - 186 (2004)
Abstract
Externalism about knowledge commits one to a modest form of contextualism: whether one knows depends (or may depend) on circumstances (context) of which one has no knowledge. Such modest contextualism requires the rejection of the KK Principle (If S knows that P, then S knows that S knows that P) - something most people would want to reject anyway - but it does not require (though it is compatible with) a rejection of closure. Radical contextualism, on the other hand, goes a step farther and relativizes knowledge not just to the circumstances of the knower, but to the circumstances of the person attributing knowledge. I reject this more radical form of contextualism and suggest that it confuses (or that it can, at least, be avoided by carefully distinguishing) the relativity in what S is said to know from the relativity in whether S knows what S is said to know.
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