Against the Minimalistic Reading of Epistemic Contextualism: A Reply to Wolfgang Freitag
First Online: 20 March 2012 Received: 01 August 2011 Accepted: 05 February 2012 DOI:
Cite this article as: Ashfield, M.D. Acta Anal (2013) 28: 111. doi:10.1007/s12136-012-0153-5 Abstract
Several philosophers have argued that the factivity of knowledge poses a problem for epistemic contextualism (EC), which they have construed as a
knowability problem. On a proposed minimalistic reading of EC’s commitments, Wolfgang Freitag argues that factivity yields no knowability problem for EC. I begin by explaining how factivity is thought to generate a contradiction out of paradigmatic contextualist cases on a certain reading of EC’s commitments. This reductio results in some kind of reflexivity problem for the contextualist when it comes to knowing her theory: either a knowability problem or a statability problem. Next, I set forth Freitag’s minimalistic reading of EC and explain how it avoids the reductio, the knowability problem and the statability problem. I argue that despite successfully evading these problems, Freitag’s minimalistic reading saddles EC with several other serious problems and should be rejected. I conclude by offering my own resolution to the problems. Keywords Epistemic contextualism Factivity Reflexivity problem Knowability problem Statability problem Even-handedness
An author's reply to this comment is available at
. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12136-012-0168-y References
Baumann, P. (2008). Contextualism and the factivity problem.
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 76
Baumann, P. (2010). Factivity and contextualism.
Blamey, J. (2008). What do they know?
Brendel, E. (2005). Why contextualists cannot know they are right: Self-refuting implications of contextualism.
Acta Analytica, 20
Brendel, E. (2009). Contextualism, relativism, and factivity: Analyzing ‘knowledge’ after the new linguistic turn in epistemology. In H. Leitgeb & A. Hieke (Eds.),
Reduction and elimination in philosophy and the sciences (pp. 403–416). Frankurt: Ontos.
Brueckner, A., & Buford, C. T. (2009). Contextualism, SSI and the factivity problem.
Brueckner, A., & Buford, C. T. (2010). Reply to Baumann on factivity and contextualism.
Cohen, S. (1988). How to be a fallibilist.
Philosophical Perspectives, 2
Cohen, S. (2001). Contextualism defended: comments on Richard Feldman’s skeptical problems, contextualist solutions.
Philosophical Studies, 103
DeRose, K. (1991). Plantinga, presumption, possibility, and the problem of evil.
Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 21(4), 497–512.
DeRose, K. (1992). Contextualism and knowledge attributions.
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 52
DeRose, K. (1995). Solving the skeptical problem.
Philosophical Review, 104
DeRose, K. (2000). Now you know it, now you don’t.
Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Vol. V, Epistemology: 91–106. Bowling Green, Ohio: Philosophy Documentation Center.
DeRose, K. (2004). Single scoreboard semantics.
Philosophical Studies, 119
Engel, M., Jr. (2004). What’s wrong with contextualism, and a noncontextualist resolution of the skeptical paradox.
Freitag, W. (2011). Epistemic contextualism and the knowability problem.
Acta Analytica, 26
Hazlett, A. (2010). The myth of factive verbs.
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 80
Lewis, D. (1996). Elusive knowledge.
Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 74
Stjernberg, F. (2009). Restricting factiveness.
Philosophical Studies, 146
Williamson, T. (2001). Comments on Michael Williams’ “Contextualism, externalism and epistemic standards”.
Philosophical Studies, 103
Williamson, T. (2002).
Knowledge and its limits
. New York: Oxford University Press.
Wright, C. (2005). Contextualism and scepticism: even-handedness, factivity and surreptitiously raising standards.
Philosophical Quarterly, 55
CrossRef Copyright information
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012