Contextualism and radical scepticism

Duncan Pritchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A critique of attributer contextualist treatments of the problem of radical scepticism is offered. It is argued that while such proposals, standardly conceived, gain some purchase against the closure-based formulation of this problem, they run aground when applied to the logically distinct underdetermination-based formulation. A specific kind of attributer contextualism—rational support contextualism—is then explored. This is better placed to deal with underdetermination-based radical scepticism via its endorsement of ascriptions of factive rational support in everyday contexts of epistemic appraisal. But such a proposal is faced with a dialectical impasse with regard to the competing epistemological disjunctivist response to radical scepticism. While the former has dialectical advantages over the latter with regard to closure-based radical scepticism, the latter has the dialectical upper-hand when it comes to underdetermination-based radical scepticism. It is claimed that the way to resolve this issue—and thereby to understand that we should not expect a unified treatment of these two formulations of the sceptical problem, much less one that is cast along contextualist lines—is to recognise how these two formulations reflect distinct sources of scepticism.

LanguageEnglish
Pages4733–4750
Number of pages18
JournalSynthese
Volume195
Issue number11
Early online date21 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

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Contextualism
Radical Scepticism
Underdetermination
Closure
Skepticism
Epistemological
Impasse

Keywords

  • Contextualism
  • Epistemological disjunctivism
  • Radical scepticism
  • Wittgenstein

Cite this

Pritchard, Duncan. / Contextualism and radical scepticism. In: Synthese. 2018 ; Vol. 195, No. 11. pp. 4733–4750.
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Pritchard, D 2018, 'Contextualism and radical scepticism', Synthese, vol. 195, no. 11, pp. 4733–4750. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-016-1122-0

Contextualism and radical scepticism. / Pritchard, Duncan.

In: Synthese, Vol. 195, No. 11, 11.2018, p. 4733–4750.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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