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P Hi272 Essay

1473 words - 6 pages

Contextualism today, is defined as the truth of a particular knowledge ascription dependent on the context in which that truth is uttered. Over the past century and decades there have been many great debates between philosopher’s over contextualism and how it can be used to disregard Skepticism. I agree with Cohen’s defense of Contextualism in regard’s to both how he answers Skepticism and Conee’s objections.
Cohen starts off his defense of Contextualism by first explaining the skeptical paradox. The skeptical paradox here is the paradox that Cohen sees between Skepticism and Contextualism Cohen argues that he does see conflict in the paradox, as all the terms can be true dependent on the context in which it is used. The skeptical paradox is as follows: - (1) I know that P, (2) I don’t know that Not-H, (3) I know that P only if I know that Not-H. To start with, Cohen sees two definitive things in this argument. (A) That (1,2 and 3) all seem to be true and (B) that they appear in conflict that the same time. In this argument P is known to be any common sense claim that an individual would normally make abut the world for e.g. that I have two feet and that Franklin & Marshall is in Lancaster. H would be a skeptical claim/hypothesis. Examples of these are I am a bodiless brain in a vat and that there is mule painted just like a Zebra in the Lancaster Zoo. Furthermore, Cohen divides these claims into sections depending on the kinds of individuals making this statement. Cohen divided this into two areas. The first area is where there is a low standard for knowledge this is meant for individuals who accept knowledge on a day-to day basis about various things without questioning it i.e. where the standard for accepting claims/facts to be knowledge is low. The other section that Cohen evaluates is where there is high standard for knowledge; here it is harder to pass claims/facts through as knowledge as the barrier for entry is very high. Cohen believes that where there is a low standard for knowledge most would think (1 and 3) to be true and (2) to be false. Mainly because it is the common sense thing to do since not everyone in the world will think in skeptical terms and since the standard for knowledge is low for these individuals they will accept knowledge to be what the world around them believes. Consequently, according to Cohen where there is a high standard for knowledge most would agree to (1) being false and (2 and 3) being true. This is because in these areas accepting knowledge becomes much harder so individuals are more likely to question everything with much more rigor in comparison. Cohen further describes that contextualists in low-stake contexts would most likely also agree with (1 and 3) with being true and (2) false and in high-stake contexts that (2 and 3) while (1) to be false. More over Cohen believes that the problem is with (B) that all three statements (1,2 and 3) appear to be in conflict. Cohen argues that usually...

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