forum 4: week of 30 Jan: DeRose on skepticism

Fragment of a discussion from Course talk:Phil440A
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Q: How can "she knows it" vary from one conversation to another on DeR's approach Are there useful comparisons with other context-dependent words? Flat, big, here, left, starboard, bank: which is know most similar to? According to DeR to know something depends completely on the context within which you say know. What sort of conversation you are having perhaps. If it is a casual one or a debate with an important figure. All this can effect what you think you know and what you are justified in thinking you know something. For example he talks about the zebra and mule example: He says an ordinary person might not be able to say that they KNOW that it is in fact a zebra and not a painted mule but a zoologist who knows these animals and their attributes very well can perhaps answer the question: is this a zebra? and be justified in saying that they do KNOW this. So the person is also part of the context differing people with differing knowledge of the topic can either have the justification to say they know or don't know something. He talks about the word flat on page 8 and says that although the desktop may not be perfectly flat in some circumstances depending on the definition of flat we are giving in the conversation we may or may not call the desktop flat. All these words including knowledge are context dependent and i think this was a good exaple to use to explain how knowledge can vary within contexts.

18:11, 1 March 2012