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Attributing KnowledgeWhat It Means to Know Something$
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Jody Azzouni

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197508817

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197508817.001.0001

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The Variability of Know(s)-that Judgments

The Variability of Know(s)-that Judgments

(p.97) 3 The Variability of Know(s)-that Judgments
Attributing Knowledge

Jody Azzouni

Oxford University Press

The usage evidence—various scenarios that realistically depict where and when we attribute knowledge to ourselves and others—shows that all the alternatives (epistemic contextualism, subject-sensitive invariantism, knowledge relativism) to intellectual invariantism fail. They fail for several reasons: When cases are compared, speaker-hearers tend to retract one or the other conflicting knowledge claim; the intuitions elicited by various cases don’t consistently satisfy any particular position; the situations under which speaker-hearers retract knowledge claims under pressure seem to support an invariantist position. Nevertheless, no standard invariantist position seems supported by the usage data because speaker-hearers do seem to shift because of differences either in the interests of the agents to whom knowledge is attributed, for example, oneself, or because of other apparently non-epistemic reasons. Attempts to use pragmatic tools, such as implicatures, to handle the apparent shifts in knowledge standards are shown to fail as well.

Keywords:   comparison judgments, epistemic contextualism, Gricean cancellations, interest-relative invariantism, knowledge relativism, knowledge standards, pragmatic interests, purism, subject-sensitive invariantism

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