Article

Acta Analytica

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 111-125

Against the Minimalistic Reading of Epistemic Contextualism: A Reply to Wolfgang Freitag

  • Michael D. AshfieldAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Northern Illinois University Email author 

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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