Contextualism and the ambiguity theory of ‘knows’

Episteme 17 (2):209-229 (2020)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The ambiguity theory of ‘knows’ is the view that ‘knows’ and its cognates have more than one sense, and that which sense of ‘knows’ is used in a knowledge ascription or denial determines, in part, the meaning (and as a result the truth conditions) of that knowledge ascription or denial. In this paper, I argue that the ambiguity theory of ‘knows’ ought to be taken seriously by those drawn to epistemic contextualism. In doing so I first argue that the ambiguity theory of ‘knows’ is a distinct view from epistemic contextualism. Second, I provide independent philosophical and linguistic considerations to motivate the ambiguity theory. Third, I argue that the ambiguity theory has the same central, generally agreed upon virtues ascribed to epistemic contextualism (namely, the ability to solve certain persistent epistemological problems relating to skeptical arguments and the ability to preserve the truth of most of our everyday, ordinary usages of ‘knows’ and its cognates). Finally, I provide an ambiguity-theory-friendly account of why contextualism may be initially appealing, and why this shouldn’t dissuade us from taking the ambiguity theory seriously nonetheless.
Keywords
No keywords specified (fix it)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
SATCAT
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-07-14
View other versions
Added to PP index
2018-10-25

Total views
58 ( #53,192 of 2,448,343 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #53,884 of 2,448,343 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.