Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 395–406 | Cite as

Knowledge Isn’t Closed on Saturday: A Study in Ordinary Language



Recent theories of epistemic contextualism have challenged traditional invariantist positions in epistemology by claiming that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions fluctuate between conversational contexts. Contextualists often garner support for this view by appealing to folk intuitions regarding ordinary knowledge practices. Proposed is an experiment designed to test the descriptive conditions upon which these types of contextualist defenses rely. In the cases tested, the folk pattern of knowledge attribution runs contrary to what contextualism predicts. While preliminary, these data inspire prima facie skepticism for the contextualist hypothesis regarding folk knowledge claims, as well as challenge certain predictions made by recent theories of subject-sensitive invariantism. It is further argued that such results raise methodological questions concerning the practice of relying on an assumption of intuitions, with respect to ordinary language practices, as evidence for philosophical conclusions regarding knowledge.


Truth Condition High Stake Knowledge Claim Ordinary Language Knowledge Attribution 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe City University of New York Graduate CenterNew YorkUSA

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