epistemology
(Gk., epistēmē, knowledge) The theory of knowledge. Its central questions include the origin of knowledge; the place of experience in generating knowledge, and the place of reason in doing so; the relationship between knowledge and certainty, and between knowledge and the impossibility of error; the possibility of universal scepticism ; and the changing forms of knowledge that arise from new conceptualizations of the world. All of these issues link with other central concerns of philosophy, such as the nature of truth and the nature of experience and meaning. It is possible to see epistemology as dominated by two rival metaphors. One is that of a building or pyramid, built on foundations. In this conception it is the job of the philosopher to describe especially secure foundations, and to identify secure modes of construction, so that the resulting edifice can be shown to be sound. This metaphor favours some idea of the ‘given’ as a basis of knowledge, and of a rationally defensible theory of confirmation and inference as a method of construction (see also foundationalism, protocol statements ). The other metaphor is that of a boat or fuselage, that has no foundations but owes its strength to the stability given by its interlocking parts. This rejects the idea of a basis in the ‘given’, favours ideas of coherence and holism, but finds it harder to ward off scepticism . The problem of defining knowledge in terms of true belief plus some favoured relation between the believer and the facts began with Plato's view in the Theaetetus that knowledge is true belief plus a logos . For difficulties see Gettier examples . For further issues see confirmation theory, empiricism, feminism, naturalized epistemology, protocol statements, rationalism, relativism, reliabilism.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • Epistemology — (from Greek επιστήμη episteme , knowledge + λόγος , logos ) or theory of knowledge is a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. [Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Volume 3, 1967, Macmillan, Inc.] The term… …   Wikipedia

  • Epistemology — • That branch of philosophy which is concerned with the value of human knowledge Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Epistemology     Epistemology      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • epistemology —    Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge, epistemic justification and rational belief. Traditionally knowledge has been defined as justified true belief , but this definition has been sharply disputed in recent decades. Among the… …   Christian Philosophy

  • epistemology — e*pis te*mol o*gy, n. [Gr. ? knowledge + logy.] The theory or science of the method or grounds of knowledge. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • epistemology — theory of knowledge, 1856, coined by Scottish philosopher James F. Ferrier (1808 1864) from Gk. episteme knowledge, from Ionic Gk. epistasthai know how to do, understand, lit. overstand, from epi over, near (see EPI (Cf. epi )) + histasthai to… …   Etymology dictionary

  • epistemology — ► NOUN ▪ the branch of philosophy that deals with knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. DERIVATIVES epistemic adjective epistemological adjective epistemologist noun. ORIGIN from Greek epist m knowledge …   English terms dictionary

  • epistemology — [ē pis΄tə mäl′ə jē, ipis΄tə mäl′ə jē] n. pl. epistemologies [< Gr epistēmē, knowledge < epistanai, to understand, believe (< epi + histanai, orig., to stand before, confront: see STAND) + LOGY] the study or theory of the nature, sources …   English World dictionary

  • epistemology — epistemological /i pis teuh meuh loj i keuhl/, adj. epistemologically, adv. epistemologist, n. /i pis teuh mol euh jee/, n. a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge. [1855 60; < Gk… …   Universalium

  • epistemology — The philosophical theory of knowledge of how we know what we know. Epistemology is generally characterized by a division between two competing schools of thought: rationalism and empiricism . Both traditions of thought received their most… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • epistemology — noun /ɪˌpɪstəˈmɑlədʒi/ a) The branch of philosophy dealing with the study of knowledge; theory of knowledge, asking such questions as What is knowledge? , How is knowledge acquired? , What do people know? , How do we know what we know? . Some… …   Wiktionary

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