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Knowledge and Skepticism$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Harry S. Silverstein

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014083

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014083.001.0001

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Knowledge In and Out of Context

Knowledge In and Out of Context

(p.104) (p.105) 5 Knowledge In and Out of Context
Knowledge and Skepticism

Kent Bach

The MIT Press

In this chapter, the author offers another explanation of the variation in contents, which is explained by contextualism as being related to a variation in standards. The author’s explanation posits that the contents of knowledge attributions are invariant. The variation lies in what knowledge attributions we are willing to make or accept. Although not easy to acknowledge, what contextualism counts as knowledge varies with the context in which it is attributed. A new rival to contextualism, known as Subject-Sensitive Invariantism, goes so far as to suggest that practical importance to the subject can affect the truth-value of a knowledge attribution. John MacFarlane puts forth another view in which the truth-value of a knowledge attribution is not absolute but relative. These two views raise interesting questions in their own right, but it is only contextualism which implies that the content of a knowledge attribution can vary with facts about the context in which it is made.

Keywords:   variation in contents, contextualism, variation in standards, knowledge attributions, invariant, Subject-Sensitive Invariantism, truth-value, John MacFarlane

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