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By Jason Stanley

Jason Stanley provides a startling and provocative declare approximately wisdom: that even if somebody understands a proposition at a given time is partially made up our minds through his or her useful pursuits, i.e. by way of how a lot is at stake for that individual at the moment. In protecting this thesis, Stanley introduces readers to a couple of concepts for resolving philosophical paradox, making the ebook crucial not only for experts in epistemology yet for all philosophers attracted to philosophical technique. when you consider that a couple of his techniques attract linguistic facts, it is going to be of serious curiosity to linguists in addition.

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Knowledge Ascriptions and Gradability ~ 39 'better than anyone' is idiomatic. Hannah knows better than three people that she is poor. Hannah knows better than Frank that she is poor. John knows that Bush is president better than Mary does. John knows that Bush is president better than Bill knows that Clinton is a Democrat. In addition, all of my informants reported a strong difference in acceptability between these sentences, on the one hand, and the perfectly acceptable: (i5)(a) John likes Bill more than Mary does.

Contextualists typically tell us, when introducing the thesis, that it would not be at all surprising if predicates such as 'knows that Bush is president' turned out to be context-sensitive in the ways they describe. After all, we are told, many natural language predicates are context-sensitive. g. 'flat', 'bald', 'rich', 'happy', 'sad'.... These are all predicates that can be satisfied to varying degrees and that can also be satisfied simpliciter. , we can talk about one surface being flatter than another and we can talk about a surface being flat simpliciter.

As Keith DeRose (1995: 27-9) has emphasized, utterances of constructions such as the following are particularly infelicitous: (1) John knows that he has hands, but he does not know that he is not a handless brain in a vat. (2) John knows that that is a zebra, but he does not know that that is not a painted mule. But, if RAT is correct, utterances of (i) and (2) express true propositions. Since there is no other obvious source of their infelicity, RAT has inexplicably bad consequences. A contextualist construal of RAT promises to overcome several problems with it.

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