Why contextualists cannot know they are right: Self-refuting implications of contextualism [Book Review]

Acta Analytica 20 (2):38-55 (2005)
Authors
Elke Brendel
Universität Bonn
Abstract
Conversational contextualism in epistemology is characterized by four main theses: 1. the indexicality of knowledge claims thesis; 2. the attributor contextualism thesis; 3. the conversational contextualism thesis, and 4. the main thesis of contextualism according to which a knowledge claim can be true in one context and false in another context in which more stringent standards for knowledge are operant. It is argued that these theses taken together generate problems for contextualism. In particular, it is shown that there is no context in which the contextualist can truthfully claim to know her theory is true. Since these results were obtained only with principles the contextualist cannot give up—like the principle of epistemic closure and the principle that knowledge implies truth—it seems that contextualism is in need of a thoroughgoing revision if it is to become a successful epistemic theory.
Keywords conversational contextualism  attributor contextualism  epistemic closure  indexicality of knowledge  skepticism
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-005-1021-3
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume - 1738 - Oxford University Press.
Elusive Knowledge.David Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
Solving the Skeptical Problem.Keith DeRose - 1995 - Philosophical Review 104 (1):1-52.
Scorekeeping in a Language Game.David Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.

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Citations of this work BETA

Contextualism and the Factivity Problem.Peter Baumann - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (3):580–602.

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