Contextualism, safety and epistemic relevance

Philosophical Studies 143 (3):383-394 (2009)
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Abstract

The paper discusses approaches to Epistemic Contextualism that model the satisfaction of the predicate ‘know’ in a given context C in terms of the notion of belief/fact-matching throughout a contextually specified similarity sphere of worlds that is centred on actuality. The paper offers three counterexamples to approaches of this type and argues that they lead to insurmountable difficulties. I conclude that what contextualists (and Subject-Sensitive Invariantists) have traditionally called the ‘epistemic standards’ of a given context C cannot be explicated in terms of a contextually specified similarity sphere that is centred on actuality. The mentioned accounts of epistemic relevance and thus the corresponding accounts of the context-sensitivity (or subject-sensitivity) of ‘knows’ are to be rejected.

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Michael Blome-Tillmann
McGill University

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