The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding: Essays for Barry Stroud
Oxford University Press (2011)
I argue that the contextualist anti-skeptical strategy fails because it misconstrues skepticism by overlooking two important aspects of skepticism: first, all of our knowledge of the external world is brought into question at one fell swoop; second, skepticism depends on certain ideas about sense-perception and its role in our knowledge of the world. Contextualists may have solved ‘the skeptical paradox’ in their own terms, but such a solution cannot in any way make skepticism less threatening to human knowledge or to the philosophical understanding of human knowledge. I also discuss some important aspects of the practice of knowledge attribution in order to show that the more we can make sense of particular knowledge attributions, the less we can take skepticism seriously, and that the practice of knowledge attribution as we understand and engage in it presupposes that we have knowledge of the world.