A counterexample to the contrastive account of knowledge
- Jason Rourke
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Many epistemologists treat knowledge as a binary relation that holds between a subject and a proposition. The contrastive account of knowledge developed by Jonathan Schaffer maintains that knowledge is a ternary, contrastive relation that holds between a subject, a proposition, and a set of contextually salient alternative propositions the subject’s evidence must eliminate. For the contrastivist, it is never simply the case that S knows that p; in every case of knowledge S knows that p rather than q. This paper offers a counterexample to the contrastive account of knowledge. Part 1 summarizes the contrastive theory developed by Schaffer in a series of recent papers. Part 2 presents an example from a class of cases characterized by compatibility between the proposition p and each of the alternative propositions that occupy q. In such cases the alternative propositions that partially constitute the ternary contrastive relation play no role in the acquisition of knowledge. Part 3 considers and rejects potential responses to the counterexample. The paper concludes that the contrastive theory is not a general account of knowledge.
- Asher, N., & Lascarides, A. (1998). Questions in dialogue. Linguistics and Philosophy, 21, 237–309. CrossRef
- Boer, S., & Lycan, W. (1975). Knowing who. Philosophical Studies, 28, 299–344. CrossRef
- Ginzburg, J. (1995). Resolving questions, I. Linguistics and Philosophy, 18, 459–527. CrossRef
- Roberts, C. (1996). Information structure: towards an integrated theory of formal pragmatics. In J. Yoon & A. Kathol (Eds.), OSU working papers in linguistics: Papers in Semantics (Vol. 49, pp. 91–136). Columbus: The Ohio State University Department of Linguistics.
- Roberts, C. (2004). Context in dynamic interpretation. In L. Horn & G. Ward (Eds.), Handbook of Contemporary Pragmatic Theory (pp. 197–220). Oxford: Blackwell.
- Schaffer, J. (2004). From contextualism to contrastivism. Philosophical Studies, 119, 73–103. CrossRef
- Schaffer, J. (2005). Contrastive knowledge. In T. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Oxford studies in epistemology (1st ed., pp. 235–271). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Schaffer, J. (2007). Knowing the answer. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 75, 383–403. CrossRef
- Van Rooy, R. (2003). Questioning to resolve decision problems. Linguistics and Philosophy, 26, 727–763. CrossRef
- A counterexample to the contrastive account of knowledge
Volume 162, Issue 3 , pp 637-643
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Jason Rourke (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Philosophy Department, Syracuse University, 541 Hall of Languages, Syracuse, NY, 13244-1170, USA