Volume 10, Issue 2, 2019
Pragmatic Encroachment and Context Externalism
Pragmatic Encroachment (PE hereafter), sometimes called ‘antiintellectualism,’ is a denial of epistemic purism. Purism is the view that only traditional, truth-relevant, epistemic factors determine whether a true belief is an instance of knowledge. According to anti-intellectualists, two subjects S and S*, could be in the same epistemic position with regards to puristic epistemic factors, but S might know that p while S* doesn’t if less is at stake for S than for S*. Motivations for rejecting purism take two forms: case-based and principle-based arguments. In considering both approaches, I argue that PE is best viewed as externalist about epistemic contexts. That is to say, I claim that what determines a subject’s epistemic context is external to her mind.