Epistemology factualized: New contractarian foundations for epistemology

Synthese 150 (2):247 - 280 (2006)
Many epistemologists are interested in offering a positive account of how it is that many of our common sense beliefs enjoy one or another positive epistemological status (e.g., how they are warranted, justified, reasonable, or what have you). A number of philosophers, under the influence of Wittgenstein and/or J. L. Austin, have argued that this enterprise is misconceived. The most effective version of this argument is to be found in Mark Kaplan’s paper “Epistemology on Holiday”. After explaining what this criticism amounts to and why it is important, I then respond to it. My response is based upon, and is intended to display the explanatory power of, a contractarian account of our practice of epistemic appraisal.
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