‘KNOWLEDGE’ ASCRIPTIONS, SOCIAL ROLES AND SEMANTICS



McKenna, Robin ORCID: 0000-0001-5129-7850
(2013) ‘KNOWLEDGE’ ASCRIPTIONS, SOCIAL ROLES AND SEMANTICS. Episteme, 10 (4). 335 - 350.

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Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The idea that the concept ‘knowledge’ has a distinctive function or social role is increasingly influential within contemporary epistemology. Perhaps the best-known account of the function of ‘knowledge’ is that developed in Edward Craig's <jats:italic>Knowledge and the State of Nature</jats:italic> (1990, Oxford University Press), on which (roughly) ‘knowledge’ has the function of identifying good informants. Craig's account of the function of ‘knowledge’ has been appealed to in support of a variety of views, and in this paper I'm concerned with the claim that it supports a sort of epistemic contextualism, which is (roughly) the view that the semantic contents and truth-conditions of ‘knowledge’ ascriptions – instances of ‘S knows that <jats:italic>p</jats:italic>’ – depend on and vary with the context of ascription (see, for instance, John Greco's ‘What's wrong with contextualism’, <jats:italic>Philosophical Quarterly</jats:italic> [2008]). <jats:italic>Prima facie</jats:italic>, this claim should strike us as surprising. A number of concepts and linguistic items (words, sentences) serve functions that have little or nothing to do with semantics. However, I argue that, on the best interpretation of talk of the function of a concept such as ‘knowledge’, the function of ‘knowledge’ is relevant to semantics. Along the way I also suggest how to improve on what I call the ‘usual argument’ that Craig's account of the function of ‘knowledge’ supports epistemic contextualism.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2018 15:39
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2021 01:11
DOI: 10.1017/epi.2013.30
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3026179