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Contextualism, Contrastivism, Relevant Alternatives, and Closure

Jonathan L. Kvanvig
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 134, No. 2 (May, 2007), pp. 131-140
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40208711
Page Count: 10
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Contextualism, Contrastivism, Relevant Alternatives, and Closure
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Abstract

Contextualists claim two important virtues for their view. First, contextualism is a non-skeptical epistemology, given the plausible idea that not all contexts invoke the high standards for knowledge needed to generate the skeptical conclusion that we know little or nothing. Second, contextualism is able to preserve closure concerning knowledge - the idea that knowledge is extendable on the basis of competent deduction from known premises. As long as one keeps the context fixed, it is plausible to think that some closure principle can be articulated that will survive scrutiny. Opponents of contextualism often try to gain an advantage over it by claiming that their view mimics these virtues of contextualism as well as having other virtues.¹ A recent example of the same is termed' contrastivism," as presented by Jonathan Schaffer.² I will argue that the representation made is chimerical, that in fact contrastivism has no hope of mirroring these twin virtues of contextualism.

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