Relativism, sceptical paradox, and semantic blindness

Philosophical Studies 162 (3):585-603 (2013)
Abstract   Relativism about knowledge attributions is the view that a single occurrence of ‘S knows [does not know] that p’ may be true as assessed in one context and false as assessed in another context. It has been argued that relativism is equipped to accommodate all the data from speakers’ use of ‘know’ without recourse to an error theory. This is supposed to be relativism’s main advantage over contextualist and invariantist views. This paper argues that relativism does require the attribution of semantic blindness to speakers, viz. to account for sceptical paradoxes and epistemic closure puzzles. To that end, the notion of semantic blindness is clarified by distinguishing between content-blindness and index-blindness, and it is argued that the attribution of index-blindness required by the relativist account is implausible. Along the way, it is shown that error-theoretic objections from speakers’ inter-contextual judgments fail against relativism. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9783-5 Authors Dirk Kindermann, Arché, University of St Andrews, 17–19 College Street, St Andrews, KY16 9AL UK Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Keywords Knowledge attributions  Relativism  Error theory  Semantic blindness  Sceptical paradox  Epistemic closure puzzles
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9783-5
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,707
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Keith DeRose (1995). Solving the Skeptical Problem. Philosophical Review 104 (1):1-52.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Martin Montminy (2009). Contextualism, Invariantism and Semantic Blindness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):639-657.
Dan López de Sa (2008). Presuppositions of Commonality. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Max Kölbel (eds.), Relativising Utterance Truth. Oxford University Press 297-310.
Kevin Scharp (2013). Truth, the Liar, and Relativism. Philosophical Review 122 (3):427-510.
Herman Cappelen (2008). Content Relativism and Semantic Blindness. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Max Koelbel (eds.), Relative Truth. Oxford University Press 265-86.
Howard Sankey (2012). Scepticism, Relativism and the Argument From the Criterion. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):182-190.
Dan Zeman (2010). Knowledge Attributions and Relevant Epistemic Standards. In François Recanati, Isidora Stojanovic & Neftali Villanueva (eds.), Context-dependence, Perspective and Relativity. Mouton de Gruyter
Robert Lockie (2003). Relativism and Reflexivity. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (3):319 – 339.
Dan Zeman (2010). Knowledge Attributions and Relevant Epistemic Standards. In Recanati François, Stojanovic Isidora & Villanueva Neftali (eds.), Context Dependence, Perpsective and Relativity. Mouton de Gruyter

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

60 ( #56,899 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #289,836 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.