, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 91-104

Justification in context

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Abstract

Contextualism has been a prominent epistemological theory for more than twenty years. Its central claim is that standards for justification and of knowledge ascriptions can vary from one context to another context. However this in not the end of the story, for one must subsequently explain these variations of standards in order to avoid arbitrariness. Two strategies offer themselves at this point: generalism and particularism. We argue that the latter could provide a viable support for an overall contextualist approach. David Lewis in his paper “Elusive Knowledge” provides a nice case of contextual epistemology and points to several important aspects of knowledge. But we disagree with Lewis on two points of his account: (i) knowledge without justification and (ii) set of exceptionless rules that determine relevant alternatives. We preserve the overall conception of knowledge as justified true belief and attempt to work out a contextualist account of knowledge by pointing to an alternative, particularistic view of relevance and relevant alternatives.