Epistemic contextualists can be thought of as the compatibilists of their field. They allow both the skeptic and the dogmatic man on the street to be right. I argue that compatibilist solutions to skepticism do not have the explanatory
virtues that would be their primary recommendation. Following Barry Stroud, I agree that a successful solution to skepticism would meet a dual explanatory burden: the anti-skeptic must explain why we are not forced to accept skeptical conclusions, are not in some dark epistemic predicament. But she must also explain how it might ever have seemed that we were so forced, or so placed. Contextualists take on this two-sided explanatory task. However, their compatibilist solution relies on a descriptive semantic project that proves inadequate to respond to the normative difficulties offered up by the skeptic. Their non-normative strategy founders on a significant problem for epistemic agency.
|Keywords:||Philosophy, Epistemology, Skepticism, Contextualism|
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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