Does 'knowledge' function like a quantifier? A critique of Stanley

Philosophical Inquiries 3 (2):9-16 (2015)
Authors
Giovanni Mion
Istanbul Technical University
Abstract
In “Elusive Knowledge” (1996), David Lewis deduces contextualism about 'knowledge' from an analysis of the nature of knowledge. For Lewis, the context relativity of 'knowledge' depends upon the fact that knowledge that p implies the elimination of all the possibilities in which ~p. But since 'all' is context relative, 'knowledge' is also context relative. In contrast to Lewis, in Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005), Jason Stanley argues that since all context sensitive expressions can have different interpretations within the same discourse, contextualists cannot consistently embrace the following two claims: (i) 'knowledge' functions like a quantifier and (ii) distinct occurrences of 'knowledge' within the same discourse must be associated with the same standard. In response to Stanley, in my paper, I argue that (i) and (ii) are both true. More specifically, I argue that with the help of global domains, we can overcome Stanley’s objections to Lewis and, accordingly, provide the linguistic basis that epistemic contextualism needs.
Keywords epistemic contextualism  global domains  David Lewis  Jason Stanley  Christopher Gauker
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