The Mind-Independence of Contexts for Knowledge-Attributions

In Jonathan Ichikawa (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Contextualism. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 455-464 (2017)

Giovanni Mion
Istanbul Technical University
Christopher Gauker
University of Salzburg
If we say that the truth of a statement of the form “S knows that p” depends on the pertinent context, that raises the question, what determines the pertinent context? One answer would be: the speaker. Another would be: the speaker and the hearer jointly somehow. Yet a third answer would be: no one gets to decide; it is a matter of what the conversation is supposed to achieve and how the world really is, and it can happen that all of the interlocutors are mistaken about the pertinent context. In this way, the context relevant to knowledge attributions might be mind-independent. In this chapter, we will explore the consequences of taking contexts to be mind-independent. We will not give a definitive account of what determines the pertinent context, but we will have something to say about it. Our focus will be on pointing out that certain debates that have been conducted in the literature might have a different outcome if the possibility that contexts are mind-independent were clearly on the table.
Keywords context-relativity  knowledge attributions  objective contexts
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