Contextualism and Flat Earth

Contextualism is treating what we know as context-sensitive. We can use the epistemic contextualism as a philosophical tool to explain the Earth is spherical, and bypass all the scientific explanations.

Flat-Earthers love to shift the context to where we would no longer function as a normal human being because only in this context, most of us cannot possibly know the shape of the Earth.

But in the context where we all act like normal human beings, there’s no problem to know the Earth is spherical, even if we don’t know all the scientific details.

They can claim “You don’t know the Earth is round!” They are right, but only in the context where the testimonies of hundreds of astronauts are not accepted, the opinion of too many scientists in the past 20 centuries don’t count, all the photos taken from space are assumed fakery, and so on.

In the context of everyday human lives, we take those differently. In everyday life, humans —including flat-Earthers— reasonably take the opinions and facts from others without questioning too much. In general, we are correct to rely on these; otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to live a normal life.

But in the matter of the shape of the Earth, they would shift the context to the extreme end where they would be able to defend flat Earth, and ask questions like “Are you certain the Earth is spherical and what is your evidence?”

We can surely answer the question from scientific standpoints. But we can also let philosophy do the work, and shift the context back to where it applies to our everyday lives: “Yes, I’m certain the Earth is spherical the same way you are certain North Korea is a real country.”

They wouldn’t be able to prove North Korea is a country in the same certainty they require from us to prove the Earth is spherical. “All you got are pictures and videos from North Korea and Kim Jong Un. How would you know those aren’t staged?”

They don’t have a choice other than saying “You are being unreasonable.” They are correct, it is unreasonable; the same way they are being unreasonable about the knowledge that the Earth is spherical.