Against Contextualism: Belief, Evidence, & the Bank Cases

Logan Paul Gage

Abstract


Contextualism (the view that ‘knowledge’ and its variants are context-sensitive) has been supported in large part through appeal to intuitions about Keith DeRose’s Bank Cases. Recently, however, the contextualist construal of these cases has come under fire from Kent Bach and Jennifer Nagel who question whether the Bank Case subject’s confidence can remain constant in both low- and high-stakes cases. Having explained the Bank Cases and this challenge to them, I argue that DeRose has given a reasonable reply to this initial challenge. However, I proceed to argue that the current stalemate can be broken. Seeking to extend the Bach–Nagel critique, I offer a novel interpretation of the Bank Cases according to which the subject’s evidence changes between low- and high-stakes cases. If I am correct, then, given the amount of support the Bank Cases have been thought to lend contextualism, the case for contextualism is seriously weakened.


Keywords


K. DeRose; K. Bach; J. Nagel; bank cases; contextualism; evidence

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2013v17n1p57

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Principia: an internationnal journal of epistemology
Published by NEL - Epistemology and Logic Research Group
Federal University of Santa Catarina - UFSC
Center of Philosophy and Human Sciences – CFH
Campus Reitor João David Ferreira Lima
Florianópolis, Santa Catarina - Brazil
CEP: 88040-900

 ISSN: 1414-4217
EISSN: 1808-171

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