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This chapter begins by summarising the development of the history of ideas out of which conceptual history emerged. It discusses in detail the founding figure of conceptual history, Reinhart Koselleck, and compares his approach to that of the influential Cambridge school, in particular Quentin Skinner and J. G. A. Pocock, and their ‘contextualism’. The bulk of the chapter is then dedicated to a discussion of a range of examples of how conceptual histories have helped to deconstruct a rainge of collective identities, including class, religious, racial and gender identities. In all of these areas we have seen an intense interest in linking the history of conceps with the study of emotions, social practices and the problematisation of the national container for historical studies. In particular the move to a transnational history of concepts has contributed in a major way to de-essentialising collective national identities but also transnational, i.e. European ones. Furthermore, conceptual history has been emphasising the importance of studying the translation of concepts into different languages and cultural spheres.
Philosophical arguments must be understood in relation to the historical contexts in which they were produced. This yields the recognition that the distinction between early modern “philosophy” and “science” is an anachronistic imposition—the philosophical foundation of modernity and the Scientific Revolution are facets of the same transformations. However, the “contextualist turn” presents methodological difficulties arising from the opposition of philosophical analysis and historical narrative. This introduction presents two strategies for resolving these tensions in the study of the period. First, examination of how authors identified with peers and opposed themselves to foes generates a fine-grained understanding of early modern disciplines, without anachronistic impositions. Second, shifts in disciplinary boundaries can be used as entry points into the networks of influences that ramified across the intellectual landscape, yielding narratives that are sensitive to a wide range of textual and contextual factors. Together, awareness of disciplinary boundaries and their “inflection points” offers an updated methodology for the investigation of the early modern period. Anachronistic grand narratives of early modern philosophy and of the Scientific Revolution will be superseded by more modest but much more sophisticated accounts of the multiplication and reorganization of intellectual disciplines.
This article is to be a bridge between Kant’s aesthetics and contemporary art – not by being a paper on Kant and contemporary art, but rather by being on Kant and contemporary
philosophy of art. I claim that Kant’s views on the appreciation of art can accommodate contextualism as well as ethicism. I argue that not only does contextualism fit Kant’s views on the appreciation of art; in §§51–3 of the third Critique, Kant’s appreciation of art is in accordance with contextualism. I go on to argue that not only does ethicism fit Kant’s views on the appreciation of art; in §§51–3, Kant’s appreciation of art is in accordance with ethicism.
Chapter 8 takes a closer look at the relation between the knowledge rule of assertion and the divide between contextualist and invariantist semantics for knowledge attributions. We argue that DeRose’s influential argument that the knowledge rule of assertion demands contextualism fails and show how it can be turned on its head.
This chapter argues that contemporary claims about what empiricist history can offer international law are part of a longer tradition. A particular vision of law and figure of the lawyer have been central to claims made by empiricist historians of political thought for at least a century. The chapter focuses on four influential scholars whose work has influenced the method debates in international law – Herbert Butterfield, JGO Pocock, Quentin Skinner, and Ian Hunter. It traces the figure of the lawyer as apologist for power that reappears in their texts and against which their historicizing methods are staged. While the figure of the lawyer appears in different guises – as Whig constitutionalist for Butterfield, English common lawyer for Pocock, Italian scholastic lawyer for Skinner, and Prussian natural lawyer for Hunter – in each narrative the lawyer functions as the foil for a new heroic figure. That figure, the historicizing humanist, arrives on the scene to offer an anti-metaphysical challenge to the oppressive authority of received tradition. This chapter situates debates over the turn to method in international law within that longer story, in which historians are able to take up their preordained place as radical disrupters of orthodoxy.
This chapter relates the turn to history in international law to the corresponding international turn taken in the discipline of history. It explores the effects of translating the stakes of those turns into a technical debate involving abstract claims about the proper scientific methods for understanding the past of international law. The chapter analyses the wide-ranging set of arguments about the scientific nature of empiricist history and the partisan character of international legal arguments that have accompanied the turn to history. It argues that international lawyers have been uncritically receptive of the idea that empiricist historical methods offer a set of technical rules to which legal scholars should conform when writing about the past.
In this chapter, I argue that proportionality has represented a fusion of substance and form that is strange to the game-like nature of the common law. It has embodied a method of review, and a way of legal thinking more generally, situated in diametrical opposition to Diceyan analytical positivism. Precisely due to its anti-Diceyan meaning, proportionality has been promoted as a principle that could establish coherence in English public law through the recognition of minimum substantive values. By using proportionality language, English lawyers have sought a little bit of myth and ritual in judicial review. Hence, the spread of proportionality in English public law should be read against the background of the rise of common law constitutionalism. In this respect, the HRA officialised and enhanced more subtle and progressive cultural transformations. The spill-over dynamic of proportionality expresses the continuing search for rationalism and myth in the ongoing construction of English public law.
In this chapter, I argue for a contextualist approach to epistemic norms for practical reasoning, according to which the degree of justification required for it to be permissible to treat p as a reason for action varies with context. In section 3.1, I introduce how these proposals are motivated and three questions that will shape the following discussion. In sections 3.2 to 3.4, I discuss the proposals of Brown, Gerken, and Locke in turn. The most pressing issue for current contextualist accounts is what I call the incompleteness problem, which is how context determines what degree of justification a context calls for. In section 3.5, I develop a solution to the incompleteness problem that involves a comparison of two opposing costs, the costs of error and the costs of further inquiry. Finally, I point out a context-invariant principle that will become significant in Chapter 5.
This chapter introduces the theoretical context for the compositional semantic framework to be developed in the book. A key innovation is to posit explicit representations of context – formally, variables for assignment functions – in the syntax and semantics of natural language. A primary focus is on a spectrum of linguistic shifting phenomena, in which the context relevant for interpretation depends on features of the linguistic environment. The proposed theory affords a standardization of quantification across domains, and an improved framework for theorizing about linguistic meaning and the role of context in interpretation. Comparisons with alternative operator-based theories are briefly considered. An outline of the subsequent chapters is presented.
This chapter applies the treatments of world-binding and assignment-binding from Chapter 3 to several examples with attitude ascriptions. Semantically modal elements such as attitude verbs are treated as introducing quantification over assignments. The account captures phenomena with intensionality, shifted interpretations of world pronouns, and local/global readings of context-sensitive expressions via general mechanisms of movement and variable binding. Topics of discussion include quantification and assignment modification in the metalanguage, de re and de dicto readings, binding with pronouns vs. traces, and shifted interpretations of modals and proper names. A speculative predicativist analysis of names is developed; bare singular uses are analyzed as predicates with an implicit choice-function pronoun.
The 50-year career of Peter Ornstein heralded and reflected major changes in Developmental Psychology. In this commentary, I highlight the importance of the “Cognitive Revolution” for the study of memory development. As his research progressed, Ornstein saw that a fuller understanding of memory development was needed to recognize the role of the classroom environment in shaping cognitive growth. Subsequent research discovered large individual differences in teacher pedagogic activities, the direct impact of teacher behavior on children’s memory development and important child by instruction interactions. Viewed across that 50-year span, Ornstein’s impressive career offers insightful life lessons for those who follow.
We examine some main arguments for skepticism. We consider in detail the argument from ignorance and various replies, including the relevant alternatives reply, the contextualist reply, the Moorean reply, and the inference to the best explanation reply.
I defend a version of what Sharon Street called “Humean constructivism.” I'll first sketch out why I think that contextual constructivism provides us with a more plausible understanding of the ontological status of values than both Kantian constructivism and moral realism. In addition to its recognition of the role of evolutionary pressures in the emergence of human morality, contextual constructivism must now clarify the role of historical intersubjectivity in the subsequent development of morality. I will then claim that adding a coherentist module to Humean constructivism provides a satisfactory answer to those who fear that contextual metaethical theories can only be non-cognitivist. Finally, I will sketch out why I think that the notion of a mind-independent “space of moral reasons” is largely compatible with Humean constructivism.
Introduces the argument that technological change draws on existing social and economic structures in order to succeed, even while destroying or transforming them. Those institutions and expectations, however, are themselves changing in order to make new machines work. A literature review guides readers through the methods and approaches developed in the history of technology and deployed in the text. These include the divide between internalist and contextual analysis, between the causation claims inherent in technological determinism and social constructivism, and the effort to reconcile the two in actor-network theory and in maintenance studies. This historiographical overview also briefly addresses the approaches found in economic history, national and global history, and social and labor and environmental history, and shifts the Big Question in the history of Industrial Revolution historiography from “Why did England industrialize?” to “Why did these specific machines work then and there?”
Contextualist accounts of the Sorites Paradox are sometimes taken as claiming that vagueness just is (a form of) context-sensitivity, and that the paradox is solvable by appeal to that context-sensitivity alone. We argue that this interpretation is misleading. Certainly contextualist accounts often provide plausible diagnoses of the intuitive pull of the soritical premise, and, due to their dynamical nature, they are well-suited to explain linguistic behaviour in so-called forced-march versions of the puzzle. However, they usually have to be coupled with non-contextualist accounts in order to resolve the paradox proper. We begin by distinguishing various contextualist explanations of the appeal of the soritical premise. Then we point out three main virtues of these approaches and discuss some objections. Lastly we consider the prospects for a recent descendant of contextualism that is meant to solve the paradox proper as well as the forced march puzzle.
I present several challenge cases to Knowledge Counter-Closure based on inference from a true-but-unknown premise and discuss their significance. I argue that Keith DeRose's attributor contextualism and Jason Stanley's interest-relative invariantism face problems preserving Knowledge Counter-Closure. I close the chapter by examining Branden Fitelson's argument for the possibility of knowledge from essential falsehood. I show that our examination of knowledge from true-but-unknown premises provides the resources to respond to Fitelson's arguments, and underwrite the view that knowledge from essential falsehood is not genuinely possible.
This article builds on David Velleman’s recent work on moral relativism to argue that Kant’s account of moral judgement is best read in a contextualist manner. More specifically, I argue that while for Kant the form of moral judgement is invariant, substantive moral judgements are nonetheless context-dependent. The same form of moral willing can give rise to divergent substantive judgements. To some limited extent, Kantian contextualism is a development out of Rawlsian constructivism. Yet while for constructivists the primary concern is with the derivation of generally valid principles of morality, Velleman’s Kant-inspired form of moral relativism demonstrates the indispensability to a Kantian approach of indexical reasons for action. I argue in turn that Velleman’s focus on the indexical nature of reasons for action must be supplemented by an account of agential reflexivity. The latter divides Kantian contextualism from Kantian relativism.
Intuitions about contextualist cases such as Cohen’s airport case pose a problem for classical anti-skeptical versions of invariantism. Recently, Tim Black (2005), Jessica Brown (2006), and Patrick Rysiew (2001, 2005, 2007) have argued that the classical invariantist can respond by arguing that pragmatic aspects of epistemic discourse are responsible for the relevant problematic intuitions. This paper identifies the mechanisms of conversational implicature and impliciture as the basic sources of hope for this explanatory strategy. It then argues that neither of these sources provides the classical invariantist with a convincing response to the airport case and its analogs.