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Does Knowledge Function Like a Quantifier? A Critique of Stanley

Giovanni Mion


In “Elusive Knowledge” (1996), David Lewis deduces contextualism about knowledge from an analysis of the nature of knowledge. For Lewis, the context relativity of knowledge depends upon the fact that knowledge that p implies the elimination of all the possibilities in which ~p. But since all is context relative, knowledge is also context relative. In contrast to Lewis, in Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005), Jason Stanley argues that since all context sensitive expressions can have different interpretations within the same discourse, contextualists cannot consistently embrace the following two claims: (i) knowledge functions like a quantifier and (ii) distinct occurrences of knowledge within the same discourse must be associated with the same standard. In response to Stanley, in my paper, I argue that (i) and (ii) are both true. More specifically, I argue that with the help of global domains, we can overcome Stanley’s objections to Lewis and, accordingly, provide the linguistic basis that epistemic contextualism needs.


epistemic contextualism; global domains; David Lewis; Jason Stanley

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