Reply to Nagel 5/23; 18bot+end


Authors
Keith DeRose
Yale University
Abstract
The key test cases for deciding between my brand of contextualism and Jennifer Nagel’s brand of invariantism are the third-person examples. As matters currently stand, first-person cases, like my original Bank cases (pp. 1-2), are pretty useless here. Nagel can agree that the speaker’s claim to “know” in Case A and his admission that he doesn’t “know” in Case B are both true; she just accepts a different account of why it is that both assertions can be, and are, true, according to which it is because in B the speaker doesn’t meet the attitude requirement for knowledge, while he does meet that requirement in A. Perhaps not at all unexpectedly, I find my proposed explanation more plausible; presumably, Nagel sees things differently. We can try to hash this out, but extremely tricky questions, and no stable enough answers, about how to understand the attitude needed for knowledge derail this attempt to decide between accounts. But no worries: Without having to first decide these issues, third-person cases provide the natural test cases to decide between the views. We can use them to decide between theories, and then go back to the first-person cases and apply what we’ve learned from the third-person cases to guide our handling of the trickier firstperson cases
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