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Reading: Contextualism and the “Actual Meaning” of Words


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Contextualism and the “Actual Meaning” of Words


Kayla Santiago-Snyder

Humboldt State University, US
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In his book, Skepticism: A Case For Ignorance, Peter Unger gives an ordinary language account of skepticism that goes past the traditional dream argument and onto a new frontier, by claiming that the way we use certain words in our everyday language may not be what those words actually mean. This involves a thorough examination of the way we use words in our everyday conversations, namely those that we do not have in a philosophical arena. Unger Uses this method in order to examine how we know things, and if we can ever say that we know anything for certain. In this paper I will be focusing on Unger’s claim that words and sentences have an “actual meaning” outside of the ways we use them in our everyday lives, and will compare it to DeRose’s account of contextualism in order to refute Unger’s account of knowledge.

How to Cite: Santiago-Snyder, K., 2017. Contextualism and the “Actual Meaning” of Words. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 9(2), pp.7 (50–55). DOI:
Published on 07 Sep 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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