Though it seems to have come out back in September, I have only now come across Patrick Rysiew’s article on “Epistemic Contextualism,” in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Patrick seems to have done a terrific job of explaining the view and laying out the issues and controversies that are involved. The article is quite extensive, and so isn’t what you’re looking for if you’ve encountered references to contextualism in epistemology and you are just looking for a very quick explanation of what that is. But, because it explains the main issues surrounding the view that are currently under discussion, it would be a great resource for advanced undergraduate students who are interested in contextualism are looking for good paper topics on the view. They would not only be guided to what the important issues are, but also to good discussions of those issues in the philosophical literature. And it’s very well-suited for graduate students and for professional philosophers who are thinking of doing some research in the area. If, for example, you have some ideas you’re thinking of writing up, but want to see how they fit into the current state of the discussion, Patrick’s article would be a great place to start.
I’ve been feeling guilty (though not guilty enough to be moved to action!) that it’s been so long since I updated my on-line bibliography on contextualism in epistemology. (It’s become so out-of-date that I won’t even link to it here.) Now I feel much better: I can just send people Patrick’s article.