For reasons too complicated to get into here, Alphonse is a jury of one. He reviewed the case carefully and judged that the accused, Dave, was guilty as charged. He says it:
(1a) He is guilty as charged.
Let’s suppose that he is confident:
(2a) I know he is guilty as charged.
Let’s suppose we’re confident in him, and so we say that he’s right both times.
For reasons too complicated to get into here, there is another jury of one. This one member jury has the same evidence for believing that the accused is guilty (well, change the names but otherwise it's the same evidence), but he is not guilty. So, while this second speaker, Bridget, is perfectly reasonable in believing that she speaks the truth, she speaks falsely when she asserts (1b) and (2b):
(1b) He is guilty as charged.
(2b) I know he is guilty as charged.
(3a) I ought to convict.
(3b) I ought to convict.
(4a) I know I ought to convict.
(4b) I know I ought to convict.
Suppose (3a) is true. It does not follow that (4a) is true, but there is no principled reason to think it has to be false given everything we have said. So, suppose it is true, too. What should we say about (3b) and (4b)? This is where things get tricky. The natural thing for the objectivist to say is that these claims are both false. According to the objectivist, you ought to Φ if Φ-ing is best-objectively and since it seems that convicting is not the best thing for Bridget to do, (3b) is false. Owing to the factivity of ‘knows’, the objectivist should say (4b) is false, too. The natural thing for the prospectivist to say is that (3b) is true. According to the prospectivist, you ought to Φ if Φing is
best-prospectively (i.e., maximizes expected value). Since we are assuming that Alphonse ought to convict, the same should be true for Bridget. The same options are best-prospectively for them. If (3b) is true and we have no reason to think that Alphonse owes an epistemic advantage over Bridget, perhaps the prospectivist should say that (4b) is true as well. Or, more guardedly, (4b) is true if (4a) is.
In cases like this, I think the objectivist enjoys an advantage over the prospectivist. Suppose Bridget convicts Clarence and after serving twenty years, Clarence is cleared of the charges. They clear him of the charges because of DNA evidence, evidence that was not available at the time of the trial. Intuitively, Clarence was wronged and is owed compensation. The prospectivist, it seems, has to deny this but this is what seems counterintuitive. It would not just be beneficent to help Clarence after he is freed. He is owed something. But, if giving him what he is owed is righting some past wrong, there has to be a wrong in the past and the prospectivist cannot find one.
This seems like a plausible principle:
(PP) If the speaker knew at the time of the conviction that she ought to vote to convict, the convicted will not be owed compensation for being sentenced.
This is the sort of the principle that the objectivist and prospectivist might agree on, they just disagree about when you ought to vote to convict. The objectivist says that what you should do depends (in part, on occasion) upon the facts ‘beyond’ the evidence, but the prospectivist denies this. The objectivist and the prospectivist deny that ‘ought’ is ambiguous.
Enter the contextualist. On one version of contextualism, one designed to accommodate some intuitions about Regan's mineshaft example, if the speaker asserts 'A ought to Phi', that is true only if A's Phi-ing is best-prospectively given the contextually determined body of evidence. This might be A's evidence, but it needn't be. Suppose Clarence knows he's innocent and so knows that Bridget speaks falsely if she asserts (1b) and (2b). We might imagine that Clarence cannot be present for the trial and so he knows just this: Bridget is conscientious and will review the evidence very carefully. Clarence knows the evidence either strongly points in favor of guilt or innocence, but not which. His lawyer texts him to say that a verdict has been reached, but his lawyer likes to create suspense and so he doesn't say what the verdict was. Because Clarence knows what he knows about Bridget and the evidence, it seems that on the contextualist view, Clarence can say truthfully, 'Whatever Bridget says about (3b) and (4b), she speaks the truth'. His lawyer then tells him that Bridget said that he should be convicted and that she knew that she should convict him. So, it seems, Clarence can say, "I know she shouldn't have convicted me and so know that she didn't know she should convict me, but she did speak the truth." So, according to Clarence, "Bridget spoke truthfully when she said "I know I ought to convict Clarence" but I know she should not have convicted Clarence".
That seems bad and now I wonder about (PP). Do contextualists think he gets compensation when he's exonerated? If they can say that Clarence is owed compensation, it looks like they have to say that speakers say something true when they say ‘Clarence is owed compensation in spite of the fact that the speaker who said ‘I know I ought to convict Clarence’ spoke the truth’. If we could climb down from these quotation marks, it seems that the contextualist is coming out in favor of owing compensation to those who are not owed compensation. If we cannot climb down from these quotation markes, it seems that the contextualist can take no position on (PP). I guess that's why contextualists haven't joined the innocence project.
It seems to me that objectivists and prospectivists can have an honest debate about whether someone like Clarence is owed compensation for a past wrong, but I don't see how the contextualist can contribute to this debate.