Contextualism, comparatives and gradability

Philosophical Studies 132 (2):381 - 393 (2007)
Abstract
Contextualists about knowledge ascriptions perceive an analogy between the semantics they posit for “know(s)” and the semantics of comparative terms like “tall” and “flat”. Jason Stanley has recently raised a number of objections to this view. This paper offers a response by way of an alternative analogy with modified comparatives, which resolves most of Stanley’s objections. Rather than being ad hoc, this new analogy in fact fits better with platitudes about knowledge and facilitates a better understanding of the semantics of gradability, such that an explanation of most of Stanley’s disanalogies becomes available. In addition, I argue that there are reasons to doubt Stanley’s claim that “knows(s)” cannot switch its content within a discourse, due to what may happen when we ascribe knowledge of more than one proposition.
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References found in this work BETA
Stewart Cohen (2005). Knowledge, Speaker and Subject. Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219):199–212.
Keith DeRose (1992). Contextualism and Knowledge Attributions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):913-929.
Keith DeRose (1995). Solving the Skeptical Problem. Philosophical Review 104 (1):1-52.

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