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Brown, Jessica, and . Contextualism and warranted assertibility manoeuvres

2006, Philosophical Studies 130 (3): 407-435.

Abstract: Contextualists such as Cohen and DeRose claim that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions vary contextually, in particular that the strength of epistemic position required for one to be truly ascribed knowledge depends on features of the attributor’s context. Contextualists support their view by appeal to our intuitions about when it’s correct (or incorrect) to ascribe knowledge. Someone might argue that some of these intuitions merely reflect when it is conversationally appropriate to ascribe knowledge, not when knowledge is truly ascribed, and so try to accommodate these intuitions even on an invariantist view. DeRose (Blackwell Guide to Epistemology, 1998; Philosophical Review, 2002) argues that any such ‘warranted assertibility manoeuvre’, or ‘WAM’, against contextualism is unlikely to succeed. Here, I argue that his objections to a WAM against contextualism are not persuasive and offer a pragmatic account of the data about ascriptions of knowledge.

Comment: This paper defends the warranted assertibility manoeuvres, a prominent pragmatic criticism to epistemic contextualism. It is useful as a central or a further reading material for teachings on contextualism in an upper-level undergraduate course on epistemology.

Lackey, Jennfer, and . Norms of Assertion

2007, Noûs 41 (4): 594–626.

Introduction: I shall argue that the Knowledge Norm of Assertion is false. In particular, I shall show that there are cases in which a speaker asserts that p in the absence of knowing that p without being subject to criticism in any relevant sense, thereby showing that knowledge cannot be what is required for proper asser- tion. I shall then develop and defend an alternative norm of assertion – what I shall call the Reasonable to Believe Norm of Assertion – that not only avoids the problems afflicting the Knowledge Norm of Assertion but also more fully and co- herently accommodates our general intuitions about both asserters and their assertions.

Comment: This is an important paper on the norm of assertion, in which Lackey criticises the knowledge norm and argues for a reasonable-to-believe norm. It is a must-have teaching material for upper level undergraduate courses on epistemology or philosophy of language, sessions on assertion or epistemic norms.