Any contextualist approach to knowledge has to provide a plausible definition of the concept of context and spell out the mechanisms of context changes. Since it is the dynamics of context change that carry the main weight of the contextualist position, not every mechanism will be capable of filling that role. In particular, I argue that one class of mechanisms that is most popularly held to account for context changes, namely those that arise out of shifts of conversational parameters in discourses involving knowledge claims, are not suited to the job because they cannot account for the genuinely epistemic nature of the context shift. A form of epistemic contextualism that defines the context through the structure of our epistemic projects is suggested. Context changes in this account are linked to changes in the background assumptions operative in our epistemic projects and the methods used to carry out our inquiries.


Context Change Knowledge Claim Adequate Method Relevant Alternative Sceptical Argument 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barke, A.: 2002, The Closure of Knowledge in Context, Mentis Verlag, Paderborn.Google Scholar
  2. DeRose, K.: 1995, ‘Solving the Skeptical Problem’, Philosophical Review 104, 1–52.Google Scholar
  3. Dretske, F.: 1970, ‘Epistemic Operators’, The Journal of Philosophy 67, 1007–1023.Google Scholar
  4. Girdenfors, P.: 1988, Knowledge in Flux. Modeling the Dynamics of Epistemic States, MIT Press, Cambridge MA.Google Scholar
  5. Goldman, A. I.: 1976, ‘Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge’, The Journal of Philosophy 73, 771–791.Google Scholar
  6. Heller, M.: 1989, ‘Relevant Alternatives’, Philosophical Studies 55, 23–40.Google Scholar
  7. Hilpinen, R.: 1986, ‘The Semantics of Questions and the Theory of Inquiry’, Logique et Analyse 29, 523–539.Google Scholar
  8. Hintikka, J.: 1962, Knowledge and Belief An Introduction to the Logic of the Two Notions, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  9. Hookway, C.: 1990, Scepticism, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  10. Hookway, C.: 1996, ‘Questions of Context’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1996/1, 1–16.Google Scholar
  11. Klein, P. D.: 1981 Certainty: A Refutation of Scepticism, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  12. Lewis, D.: 1979, ‘Scorekeeping in a Language Game’, Journal of Philosophical Logic 8, 339–359.Google Scholar
  13. Lewis, D.: 1996, ‘Elusive Knowledge’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74, 549–567.Google Scholar
  14. Schiffer, S.: 1996, ‘Contextualist Solutions to Scepticism’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1996/3, 317–333.Google Scholar
  15. Schatz, D.: 1981, ‘Reliability and Relevant Alternatives’, Philosophical Studies 39, 393–408.Google Scholar
  16. Stine, G. C.: 1976, ‘Scepticism, Relevant Alternatives, and Deductive Closure’, Philosophical Studies 29, 249–261.Google Scholar
  17. White, J. L.: 1991, ‘Knowledge and Deductive Closure’, Synthese 86, 409–423.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonia Barke
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für PsychologieJohann Wolfgang Goethe-UniversitätFrankfurtGermany

Personalised recommendations