A linguistic grounding for a polysemy theory of ‘knows’

Philosophical Studies 175 (5):1163-1182 (2018)
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Abstract

In his book Knowledge and Practical Interests Jason Stanley offers an argument for the conclusion that it is quite unlikely that an ambiguity theory of ‘knows’ can be “linguistically grounded”. His argument rests on two important assumptions: that linguistic grounding of ambiguity requires evidence of the purported different senses of a word being represented by different words in other languages and that such evidence is lacking in the case of ‘knows’. In this paper, I challenge the conclusion that there isn’t a linguistic grounding for an ambiguity theory of ‘knows’ by making cases against both of Stanley’s major assumptions. I will do this by making a case for a prime facie linguistic grounding for a polysemy theory of ‘knows’ without appealing to word use in other languages. Given that a polysemy theory of ‘knows’ is a type of ambiguity theory of ‘knows’, if I succeed in linguistically grounding a polysemy theory of ‘knows’, then I have shown that at least one type of ambiguity theory of ‘knows’ can be linguistically grounded.

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Mark Satta
Wayne State University

Citations of this work

The Ambiguity Theory of “Knows”.Mark Satta - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (1):69-83.
Reasoning One’s Way Back into Skepticism.Mark Satta - 2023 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 13 (3):202-224.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and practical interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Speaker’s Reference and Semantic Reference.Saul Kripke - 1977 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2 (1):255-276.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219):353-356.
Contextualism and knowledge attributions.Keith DeRose - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):913-929.

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