Relativism, knowledge and understanding

Carter, J. A. (2014) Relativism, knowledge and understanding. Episteme, 11(1), pp. 35-52. (doi:10.1017/epi.2013.45)

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Abstract

The arguments for and against a truth-relativist semantics for propositional knowledge attributions (KTR) have been debated almost exclusively in the philosophy of language. But what implications would this semantic thesis have in epistemology? This question has been largely unexplored. The aim of this paper is to establish and critique several ramifications of KTR in mainstream epistemology. The first section of the paper develops, over a series of arguments, the claim that MacFarlane’s (2005; 2010) core argument for KTR ultimately motivates (for better or worse) the extension of a truthrelativist semantics to a subset of understanding attributions—attributions of understandingwhy. I conclude by presenting some reasons to think that even if KTR were otherwise plausible, a truth-relativist semantics for understanding-why attributions is not. These claims, taken together, constitute a kind of epistemological argument against MacFarlanestyle truth-relativism for knowledge attributions.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carter, Dr Joseph
Authors: Carter, J. A.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Episteme
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:1742-3600
ISSN (Online):1750-0117
Published Online:04 November 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 Cambridge University Press
First Published:First published in Episteme 11(1): 35-52
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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