"Bamboozled by Our Own Words": Semantic Blindness and Some Arguments against Contextualism

The best grounds for accepting contextualism concerning knowledge attributions are to be found in how knowledge-attributing (and knowledge-denying) sentences are used in ordinary, nonphilosophical talk: What ordinary speakers will count as “knowledge” in some non-philosophical contexts they will deny is such in others. Contextualists typically appeal to pairs of cases that forcefully display the variability in the epistemic standards that govern ordinary usage: A “low standards” case (henceforth, “LOW”) in which a speaker seems quite appropriately and truthfully to ascribe knowledge to a subject will be paired with a “high standards” case (“HIGH”) in which another speaker in a quite different and more demanding context seems with equal propriety and truth to say that the same subject (or a similarly positioned subject) does not know. The contextualist argument based on such cases is driven by the premises that the positive attribution of knowledge in LOW is true, and that the denial of knowledge in HIGH is true. And where the contextualist has constructed HIGH and LOW wisely, those premises are in turn powerfully supported by the two mutually reinforcing strands of evidence that both of the claims intuitively seem true, and that both claims are perfectly appropriate. The resulting argument for contextualism is very powerful indeed, but I am on the offensive making that case in another paper: “The Ordinary Language Basis for Contextualism and the New Invariantism.”.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2006.tb00620.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,749
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Indexical Contextualism and the Challenges From Disagreement.Carl Baker - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (1):107-123.
Some Recent Work in Experimental Epistemology.N. Ángel Pinillos - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (10):675-688.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
238 ( #16,001 of 2,197,348 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #61,579 of 2,197,348 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature