, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 29-53

The indexicality of ‘knowledge’

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Abstract

Epistemic contextualism—the view that the content of the predicate ‘know’ can change with the context of utterance—has fallen into considerable disrepute recently. Many theorists have raised doubts as to whether ‘know’ is context-sensitive, typically basing their arguments on data suggesting that ‘know’ behaves semantically and syntactically in a way quite different from recognised indexicals such as ‘I’ and ‘here’ or ‘flat’ and ‘empty’. This paper takes a closer look at three pertinent objections of this kind, viz. at what I call the Error-Theory Objection, the Gradability Objection and the Clarification-Technique Objection. The paper concludes that none of these objections can provide decisive evidence against contextualism.