Philosophical Studies

, Volume 163, Issue 3, pp 577–590 | Cite as

Problems for contrastive closure: resolved and regained

  • Michael HughesEmail author


The standard contextualist solution to the skeptical paradox is intended to provide a way to retain epistemic closure while avoiding the excessive modesty of radical skepticism and the immodesty of Moorean dogmatism. However, contextualism’s opponents charge that its solution suffers from epistemic immodesty comparable to Moorean dogmatism. According to the standard contextualist solution, all contexts where an agent knows some ordinary proposition to be true are contexts where she also knows that the skeptical hypotheses are false. It has been hoped that contrastivist theories of knowledge can mirror the contextualist solution while avoiding this epistemic immodesty. I review the main problems for contrastive closure and argue that none of the arguments currently in the literature pose an insurmountable problem for the contrastivist solution. However, I argue that contrastivist theories of knowledge, like their contextualist rivals, are indeed committed to epistemic immodesty.


Epistemic closure Contrastivism Skeptical paradox Contextualism 



The author would like to thank Patrick Greenough, Casey Johnson, Michael Lynch, Jeremy Wyatt, and an anonymous referee.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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