Logos & Episteme

Volume 2, Issue 1, 2011

Jonathan L. Kvanvig
Pages 77-85

Against Pragmatic Encroachment

Anti-intellectualist theories of knowledge claim that in some way or other, practical stakes are involved in whether knowledge is present (or, where the view is contextualist, whether sentences about knowledge are true in a given context). Interest in pragmatic encroachment arose with the development of contextualist theories concerning knowledge ascriptions. In these cases, there is an initial situation in which hardly anything is at stake, and knowledge is easily ascribed. The subsequent situation is one where the costs of being wrong are fairly significant from a practical point of view, and the claim made by pragmatic encroachers is that knowledge should not be ascribed in such situations and typically is not by competent speakers. My goal here is to show how mistaken the idea of pragmatic encroachment is.