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Contextualism and the Epistemological Enterprise

Michael Blome-Tillmann
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9264.2007.00228.x 387-394 First published online: 1 October 2007

Abstract

Epistemic contextualism (EC) is primarily a semantic view, viz. the view that ‘knowledge’-ascriptions can change their contents with the conversational context. To be more precise, EC is the view that the predicate ‘know’ has an unstable Kaplanian character, i.e., a character that does not map all contexts on the same content. According to EC, ‘know’ is thus an indexical expression. Notwithstanding this purely linguistic characterization of EC, contextualists have traditionally argued that their views have considerable philosophical impact, this being due to the alleged fact that their linguistic views about ‘know’ provide the resources for a resolution of sceptical puzzles. In this paper I will address an objection to EC, claiming that, as a linguistic view about the term ‘know’, EC cannot be of any epistemological significance.

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