Challenging Contextualism

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Abstract:

In order to explain such puzzling cases as the Bank Case and the Airport Case, semantic contextualists defend two theses. First, that the truth-conditions of knowledge sentences fluctuate in accordance with features of the conversational context. Second, that this fluctuation can be explained by the fact that 'knows' is an indexical. In this paper, I challenge both theses. In particular, I argue (i) that it isn't obvious that 'knows' is an indexical at all, and (ii) that contrastivism can do the same work as contextualism is supposed to do, without being linguistically implausible.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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