Externalism and Modest Contextualism
Author: Fred Dretske
Source: Erkenntnis, Volume 61, Numbers 2-3, November 2004 , pp. 173-186(14)
Abstract:Externalism about knowledge commits one to a modest form of contextualism: whether one knows depends (or may depend) on circumstances (context) of which one has no knowledge. Such modest contextualism requires the rejection of the KK Principle (If S knows that P, then S knows that S knows that P) - something most people would want to reject anyway - but it does not require (though it is compatible with) a rejection of closure. Radical contextualism, on the other hand, goes a step farther and relativizes knowledge not just to the circumstances of the knower, but to the circumstances of the person attributing knowledge. I reject this more radical form of contextualism and suggest that it confuses (or that it can, at least, be avoided by carefully distinguishing) the relativity in what S is said to know from the relativity in whether S knows what S is said to know.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2004-11-01