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Semantic Awareness for Skeptical Pragmatic Invariantism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2019

Christos Kyriacou*
University of Cyprus, Cyprus, Greece
*Corresponding author. Email:


An argument often leveled against skeptical invariantism (SI) is – what we may call – ‘the argument from semantic awareness’. Roughly, the argument suggests that ordinary agents are not aware of the meaning of ‘know’ that SI proposes. Given that the semantic intuitions of ordinary agents are generally reliable, this implies that SI is implausible as a theory of ‘know’. Therefore, SI should be rejected. In this paper, I focus on the stronger extant formulation of the argument and explore how SI could, in principle, be rendered coherent with the argument (even if SI is not to be considered overall plausible). To this effect, I suggest an overlooked semantically externalist model of meaning and semantic awareness of ‘know’ that renders SI coherent with ‘the argument from semantic awareness’. The goal of the paper is modest. It is not to defend, let alone vindicate SI, but to indicate that SI is coherent with ‘the argument from semantic awareness’ in light of an externalist account of meaning and semantic awareness. I demur about the matter of the overall plausibility of SI.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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