Tag Archives: context

Does History require a variety of Contextualism?

John GrecoIn the July issue of The Philosophical Quarterly, 58(232), John Greco asks: “What’s wrong with Contextualism?” His discussion connects with one of AHP‘s recurring themes — the doing of history — in several interesting ways. In particular, his essay will be of special relevance to those interested in writing intellectual histories.

…the present thesis is that knowledge attributions are a kind of credit attribution, and that credit attributions in general involve causal explanations: to say that a person S is creditable for some state of affairs A, is to say that S’s agency is salient in an explanation regarding how or why A came about. (pp. 419-420)

In other words, claims about past intellectual achievements require an explanation detailing how those achievements were achieved. It is insufficient merely to state, for example, that al-Tabari invented “psychotherapy” (here and here). Rather, the invention must be presented alongside a description of the context in which such a thought became thinkable (previously discussed at AHP here). Continue reading Does History require a variety of Contextualism?