Contextualism, contrastivism, and X-Phi surveys
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The tale that Jonathan Schaffer and Joshua Knobe tell in “Contrastivism Surveyed” (henceforth, “S&K”) is a tragic one for what we may call “standard contextualists” about knowledge attributions. First, they report (word of this has been “out on the street” for a while now) that a recent wave of work in Experimental Philosophy threatens to undermine the intuitive basis that contextualists have claimed for their view. Given the importance of that intuitive basis for the view, this would be very bad news indeed for contextualists. But the saddest stories usually aren’t just bad news from start to finish: True tragedies usually involve some real or apparent upturn in fortune, some glimmer of hope that can then be cruelly stomped out in the tragic ending of the story. So, in Act II, we’re told that these experimental results that seem hostile to contextualism turn out to be driven by what looks like some kind of performance error (though S&K don’t use that term to describe what’s going on)...
KeywordsKnowledge Claim Survey Methodology Contrast Condition Knowledge Attribution Epistemic Standard
Thanks to the organizers of the 2010 Oberlin Philosophy Colloquium, where I delivered this paper, and to the participants at the conference, especially to Patrick Rysiew, my commentator. Thanks to Jennifer Nagel and to Jonathan Schaffer for very helpful comments on an earlier draft.
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