A Skeptic's Reply to Lewisian Contextualism Academic Article uri icon


  • A skeptic will from time to time make such claims as ‘We know (little or) nothing.’ Call this the skeptical use of the word ‘know.’ In apparent contradiction of the skeptic's claims, almost all of us firmly ascribe knowledge to ourselves and others. We use the word ‘know’ and its cognates frequently and fluently in largely untroubled communication with our fellows. We make judgments ascribing knowledge to ourselves and others. Furthermore, faced with the same situation and needing to make a judgment about whether to ascribe knowledge or not, we agree on the whole with each other's ascriptions (and withholdings and doubtful cases). For the sake of a term, and being careful to neglect any stray connotations it may carry, let us call this the cognitivist use of ‘know.’

publication date

  • September 2001