The Practical Origins of Epistemic Contextualism

Erkenntnis 78 (4):899-919 (2013)
Abstract
This paper explores how the purpose of the concept of knowledge affects knowledge ascriptions in natural language. I appeal to the idea that the role of the concept of knowledge is to flag reliable informants, and I use this idea to illuminate and support contextualism about ‘knows’. I argue that practical pressures that arise in an epistemic state of nature provide an explanatory basis for a brand of contextualism that I call ‘practical interests contextualism’. I also answer some questions that contextualism leaves open, particularly why the concept of knowledge is valuable, why the word ‘knows’ exhibits context-variability, and why this term enjoys such widespread use. Finally, I show how my contextualist framework accommodates plausible ideas from two rival views: subject-sensitive invariantism and insensitive invariantism. This provides new support for contextualism and develops this view in a way that improves our understanding of the concept of knowledge
Keywords contextualism  knowledge  practical explication  epistemology  Edward Craig
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Baumann (2011). WAMs: Why Worry? Philosophical Papers 40 (2):155 - 177.
Stewart Cohen (1988). How to Be a Fallibilist. Philosophical Perspectives 2:91-123.
Keith DeRose (1992). Contextualism and Knowledge Attributions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):913-929.

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David Henderson (2009). Motivated Contextualism. Philosophical Studies 142 (1):119 - 131.
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