Springer Verlag (2018)

Nicla Vassallo
University of Genoa
This book analyses an inconsistency within epistemic contextualism known as the factivity problem. It also provides key insights into epistemic contextualism, an important innovation in contemporary epistemology, enabling readers to gain a better understanding of the various solutions to the factivity problem. As the authors demonstrate, each explanation is based on a different interpretation of the problem. Divided into seven chapters, the book offers comprehensive coverage of this topic, which will be of major interest to philosophers engaged in epistemology and the philosophy of language. After an introductory chapter, Chapter 2 presents the most common understanding of epistemic contextualism and its semantic basis. It also clarifies the epistemological implications of the theory’s semantic assumptions. This chapter also explains the main argument of the factivity problem. The next four chapters discuss the respective solutions proposed by Wolfgang Freitag, Alexander Dinges, Anthony Brueckner and Christopher Buford, Michael Ashfield, Martin Montminy and Wes Skolits, and Peter Baumann. Stefano Leardi and Nicla Vassallo highlight the similarities and commonalities, identifying three main approaches to the factivity problem. Chapter 7 provides a brief overview of the solutions proposed to solve the factivity problem and presents an outline of the conclusions reached in the book.
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Reprint years 2019
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ISBN(s) 9783030161545   978-3-030-16154-5   978-3-030-16155-2   3030161544
DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-16155-2
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Chapters BETA

The three approaches to the factivity problem that we analysed in this book may be taken as lying on three different understandings of contextualism: minimalistic contextualism , moderate contextualism and bold contextualism . Here we will provide a brief outline of the virtues and the vices of each... see more


In the first chapter we saw that the principle of factivity and the principle of closure, in order to be efficaciously employed in the argument of the factivity problem, have to be rephrased to account for the contextualist understanding of the semantics of “know”. It could be wondered, therefore, i... see more

The Fluid View

In chapter four we saw that Brueckner’s and Buford’s solution solves the factivity problem but regrettably saddles contextualism with a statability problem: the anti-sceptical argument of the theory, in fact, turns out to be unknowable and unassertable. In this chapter we will analyse a solution to ... see more

Asymmetrical Knowledge Ascriptions

In the argument of the factivity problem the contradiction seems to follow from the assumption that an asymmetrical knowledge ascription like , “Elio knowsE that Oliver knowsO that q”, holds. Here we will scrutinize two different solutions that propose to reconsider the role of this kind of ascripti... see more

The Commitment Towards (a) and (b)

“Knowledge” in Context: A Conundrum

Contextualism is the thesis that the truth-conditions of knowledge-ascribing and knowledge-denying sentences can vary depending on certain features of the context of the knowledge attributor. According to a recent objection labelled “the factivity problem”, contextualism, if combined with the princi... see more

The Commitment Towards and

One manner to solve the factivity problem consists of denying that the contextualists are committed to the premises of the conundrum. Thus, accordingly, one might allege that the contextualists are not committed neither to the truth of any specific knowledge ascription like , “Oliver knowsO that q”,... see more

Correction to: Contextualism, Factivity and Closure

In the original version of the book, the following belated corrections are to be incorporated.

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