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The Limits of Knowledge (Scepticism)

7. Contextualism

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In this final module, we consider the contextualist response to scepticism, focusing in particular on (i) the relevance of context to the truth value of certain claims (ii) standards of application (iii) why contextualism allows us to preserve knowledge in ordinary contexts whilst conceding to the sceptic’s argument that such knowledge may be liable to doubt in others.


In this course, Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett (University of Birmingham) explores the limits of knowledge (scepticism). In the first module, we contrast normal incredulity to philosophical scepticism, and examine various ways to remove grounds for doubt. In the second module, we come to look at how Descartes arrives at his three stages of doubt, laying the groundwork for the sceptical challenge. In the third module, we turn to Descartes’ response to the sceptical challenge, before looking at Locke’s response in the fourth module. In the fifth module, we examine Berkely’s idealism in response to the sceptical challenge. In the sixth module, we evaluate G.E. Moore’s proof of an external world. Finally, in the seventh module, we consider whether a possible response to scepticism can be found in contextualism.


Dr Ema Sullivan-Bisset is a reader in philosophy at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests are in the philosophy of mind and psychology. Her recent publications include Better to return whence we came (2022) and Debunking doxastic transparency (2022).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Sullivan-Bissett, E. (2022, May 16). The Limits of Knowledge (Scepticism) - Contextualism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Sullivan-Bissett, Ema . "The Limits of Knowledge (Scepticism) – Contextualism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 May 2022,

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