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Contrastivism and Skepticism

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image of International Journal for the Study of Skepticism

Recently, Jonathan Schaffer (and others) has defended a contrastivist analysis of knowledge. By appealing to his account, he has attempted to steer a path between skepticism and Moore-style antiskepticism: much like sensitivity theorists and contextualists, he offers significant concessions to, but ultimately rejects, both. In this essay I suggest that in fact Schaffer ends up succumbing to skepticism.

Affiliations: 1: Trinity University


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1. Dretske F. ( 1970). “ "Epistemic Operators",” Journal of Philosophy Vol 67: 100723.
2. ––––. ( 1971). “ "Conclusive Reasons",” Australasian Journal of Philosophy Vol 49: 122.
3. Lewis D. ( 1996). “ "Elusive Knowledge",” Australasian Journal of Philosophy Vol 74: 54967.
4. Luper S. ,( 2010). “ "The Epistemic Closure Principle",” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy , Zalta Edward N. (ed.), URL = < >.
5. Nozick R. ( 1981). Philosophical Explanations . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
6. Pritchard D. ( 2008). “ "Contrastivism, Evidence, and Scepticism",” Social Epistemology Vol 22: 30523.
7. Schaffer J. ( 2005). “ "Contrastive Knowledge",” Oxford Studies in Epistemology Vol 1: 23571.
8. ––––. ( 2007). “ "Closure, Contrast and Answer",” Philosophical Studies Vol 133: 23355.
9. ––––. ( 2008). “ "The Contrast Sensitivity of Knowledge Ascriptions",” Social Epistemology Vol 22: 23545.

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