The Ordinary Language Case for Contextualism and the Relevance of Radical Doubt

The Ordinary Language Case for Contextualism and the Relevance of Radical Doubt Many contextualist accounts in epistemology appeal to ordinary language and everyday practice as grounds for positing a low-standards knowledge (knowledgeL) that contrasts with high-standards prevalent in epistemology (knowledgeH). We compare these arguments to arguments from the height of “ordinary language” philosophy in the mid 20th century and find that all such arguments face great difficulties. We find a powerful argument for the legitimacy and necessity of knowledgeL (but not of knowledgeH). These appeals to practice leave us with reasons to accept knowledgeL in the face of radical doubts raised by skeptics. We conclude by arguing that by relegating knowledgeH to isolated contexts, the contextualist fails to deal with the skeptical challenge head-on. KnowledgeH and knowledgeL represent competing, incompatible intuitions about knowledge, and we must choose between them. A fallibilist conception of knowledge, formed with proper attention to radical doubts, can address the skeptical challenge without illicit appeal to everyday usage. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

The Ordinary Language Case for Contextualism and the Relevance of Radical Doubt

Contemporary Pragmatism, Volume 15 (1): 29 – Feb 22, 2018

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-01501005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Many contextualist accounts in epistemology appeal to ordinary language and everyday practice as grounds for positing a low-standards knowledge (knowledgeL) that contrasts with high-standards prevalent in epistemology (knowledgeH). We compare these arguments to arguments from the height of “ordinary language” philosophy in the mid 20th century and find that all such arguments face great difficulties. We find a powerful argument for the legitimacy and necessity of knowledgeL (but not of knowledgeH). These appeals to practice leave us with reasons to accept knowledgeL in the face of radical doubts raised by skeptics. We conclude by arguing that by relegating knowledgeH to isolated contexts, the contextualist fails to deal with the skeptical challenge head-on. KnowledgeH and knowledgeL represent competing, incompatible intuitions about knowledge, and we must choose between them. A fallibilist conception of knowledge, formed with proper attention to radical doubts, can address the skeptical challenge without illicit appeal to everyday usage.

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Feb 22, 2018

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