Contextual Knowledge Ascriptions and Non-Contextual Knowledge
Zarella Jr, Michael Stephen
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In this paper I pair a contextualist theory of knowledge ascriptions with a non-contextual definition of knowledge, specifically the principle that knowledge is infallible belief. This combination is unusual because proponents of contextualism, understood as a semantic thesis, either do not engage epistemology or suggest that the criteria for knowledge are also context sensitive. In order to sustain the pairing that I suggest, the truth conditions of a knowledge ascription must be distinct from the criteria for knowledge. I believe that this distinction is important and fruitful for two reasons: 1) the distinction allows us to preserve both the principle that knowledge is infallible belief and the conviction that we know a lot; 2) the distinction explains the paradox that certain skeptical arguments are not obviously unsound even though their conclusion does seem absurd. Since I uphold a definition of knowledge that is not context sensitive, my treatment of skepticism is unlike prominent contextualist treatments.
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