Contextualism, skepticism, and the Gettier problem

Synthese 139 (3):367 - 386 (2004)
Abstract
The contextualist epistemological theories proposed by David Lewis and othersoffer a view of knowledge which awards a central role to the contexts ofknowledge attributions. Such contexts are held to determine how strong anepistemic position must be in order to count as knowledge. Lewis has suggestedthat contextualism so construed can be used both to ward off the skeptic and tosolve the Gettier problem. A person knows P, he says, just in case her evidenceeliminates every possibility that not-P, where the domain of `every' is determinedby the context. Lewis provides a list of rules that can tell us, for a given context,which not-P possibilities must be eliminated and which can properly be ignored.But his account entails, counterintuitively, that knowledge can truly be attributedeven to a person in a Gettier situation provided only that the attributor is ignorantof the fact that the person is gettiered. It has been criticized on those grounds byS. Cohen. In this paper I shall argue that most other forms of contextualism sufferthe same fate as Lewis's. The allies of contextualism haven't yet shown us whethercontextualism can succeed in maintaining a notion of ordinary knowledge whileresisting the absurdity that knowledge can be a matter of sheer good luck. At theend of the paper I shall suggest a possible solution to the problem by showing howCohen's line of criticism leads to a modified conception of what sort of justificationa belief must have to count as knowledge in ordinary contexts.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/B:SYNT.0000024886.84207.6b
Options
 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
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,756
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
In Defence of Virtue Epistemology.Christoph Kelp - 2011 - Synthese 179 (3):409-433.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Contextualism and Counter-Closure.Federico Luzzi - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (1):187-199.
Can Contextualists Maintain Neutrality?Martin Montminy - 2008 - Philosophers' Imprint 8 (7):1-13.
Contextualism and the Factivity Problem.Peter Baumann - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (3):580–602.
Contextualism About Knowledge and Justification by Default.Marcus Willaschek - 2007 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 74 (1):251-272.
Quantifiers and Epistemic Contextualism.Jonathan Ichikawa - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (3):383-398.
Virtues, Social Roles, and Contextualism.Sarah Wright - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (1):95-114.
Justification in Context.Matjaž Potrč & Vojko Strahovnik - 2005 - Acta Analytica 20 (9):91-104.
What Should a Theory of Knowledge Do?Elijah Chudnoff - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (4):561-579.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

362 ( #7,706 of 2,177,867 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #317,245 of 2,177,867 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums