Shifting Targets and Disagreements

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):725-742 (2014)
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Many have rejected contextualism about ?knows? because the view runs into trouble with intra- and inter-contextual disagreement reports. My aim in this paper is to show that this is a mistake. First, I outline four desiderata for a contextualist solution to the problem. Second, I argue that two extant solutions to the problem fail to satisfy the desiderata. Third, I develop an alternative solution which satisfies the four desiderata. The basic idea, put roughly, is that ?knowledge? ascriptions serve the function of recommending good informants, and disagreement over ?knowledge? ascriptions is a matter of conflicting recommendations. The upshot is that intra- and inter-contextual disagreement reports provide little?if any?reason to reject contextualism

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Robin McKenna
University of Liverpool


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