Epistemology (from Greek ἐπιστήμη – episteme-, "knowledge, science" and λόγος, "logos") or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. It addresses the questions "What is knowledge?", "How is knowledge acquired?", "What do people know?", "How do we know what we know?", and "Why do we know what we know?". Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to similar notions such as truth, belief, and justification. It also deals with the means of production of knowledge, as well as skepticism about different knowledge claims.
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Logos is a term in Western philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion derived from a Greek word variously meaning "ground", "plea", "opinion", "expectation", "word", "speech", "account", "reason", "proportion", and "discourse". It became a technical term in Western philosophy beginning with Heraclitus, who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge.
Articles related to epistemology include:
– "A Defence of Common Sense" – A posteriori – A priori and a posteriori – A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge – Abductive reasoning – Academic skepticism – Acatalepsy – Ad hoc hypothesis – Adaptive representation – Adolph Stöhr – Aenesidemus – Aenesidemus (book) – African Spir – Agnosticism – Agrippa the Skeptic – Alethiology – Alief (belief) – Alison Wylie – Alvin Goldman – An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding – An Essay Concerning Human Understanding – Analytic–synthetic distinction – Anamnesis (philosophy) – Androcentrism – Android epistemology – Anthony Wilden – Anti-foundationalism – Anti-realism – Apperception – Arda Denkel – Argument from illusion – Aristotle's theory of universals – Arnór Hannibalsson – Ásta Kristjana Sveinsdóttir – Atli Harðarson – Atomism – Autoepistemic logic – Ayn Rand
"A Defence of Common Sense" is a 1925 essay by philosopher G. E. Moore. In it, he attempts to refute absolute skepticism by arguing that at least some of our established beliefs - facts - about the world are absolutely certain. Moore argues that these beliefs are common sense.
Empirical evidence is the information received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and documentation of patterns and behavior through experimentation. The term comes from the Greek word for experience, ἐμπειρία (empeiría).
The Latin phrases a priori and a posteriori are philosophical terms popularized by Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. However, in their Latin forms they appear in Latin translations of Euclid's Elements, of about 300 BC, a work widely considered during the early European modern period as the model for precise thinking.
– Barry Stroud – Basic belief – Basic limiting principle – Belief – Bertrand Russell – Bertrand Russell's views on philosophy – Björn Kraus – Black swan theory – Blind men and an elephant – Body of knowledge – Brain in a vat – Brute fact
Barry Stroud is a Canadian philosopher known for his work on philosophical skepticism, David Hume, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, among other topics.
Basic beliefs are, under the epistemological view called foundationalism, the axioms of a belief system.
A Basic Limiting Principle (B.L.P.) is a general principle that limits our explanations metaphysically or epistemologically, and which normally goes unquestioned or even unnoticed in our everyday or scientific thinking. The term was introduced by the philosopher C. D. Broad in his 1949 paper "The Relevance of Psychical research to Philosophy":
"There are certain limiting principles which we unhesitatingly take for granted as the framework within which all our practical activities and our scientific theories are confined. Some of these seem to be self-evident. Others are so overwhelmingly supported by all the empirical facts which fall within the range of ordinary experience and the scientific elaborations of it that it hardly enters our heads to question them. Let us call these Basic Limiting Principles."
– C. D. Broad – Carper's fundamental ways of knowing – Cartesian doubt – Cartesian Other – Cartesian Self – Catherine Elgin – Causal chain – Causal Theory of Knowing – Causality – Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies – Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée – Certainty – Claudio Canaparo – Cogito ergo sum – Cognitive closure (philosophy) – Cognitive synonymy – Coherence theory of truth – Coherentism – Common sense – Compensationism – Composition of Causes – Computational epistemology – Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments – Condition of possibility – Consensus theory of truth – Constructivism (mathematics) – Constructivist epistemology – Contextualism – Contrastivism – Correspondence theory of truth – Counterintuitive – Crispin Wright – Criteria of truth – Critical rationalism – Critical realism – Critical thinking – Cynicism
Charlie Dunbar Broad, usually cited as C. D. Broad, was an English epistemologist, historian of philosophy, philosopher of science, moral philosopher, and writer on the philosophical aspects of psychical research. He was known for his thorough and dispassionate examinations of arguments in such works as Scientific Thought, published in 1923, The Mind and Its Place in Nature, published in 1925, and An Examination of McTaggart's Philosophy, published in 1933.
In healthcare, Carper's fundamental ways of knowing is a typology that attempts to classify the different sources from which knowledge and beliefs in professional practice can be or have been derived. It was proposed by Barbara A. Carper, a professor at the College of Nursing at Texas Woman's University, in 1978.
Cartesian Doubt is a form of methodological skepticism associated with the writings and methodology of René Descartes. Cartesian doubt is also known as Cartesian skepticism, methodic doubt, methodological skepticism, universal doubt, systematic doubt or hyperbolic doubt.
– Daniel M. Hausman – David Hume – Deductive closure – Defeasible reasoning – Defeater – Deflationary theory of truth – Descriptive knowledge – Dharmarāja Adhvarin – Dialetheism – Dianoia – Direct and indirect realism – Direct experience – Discourse on the Method – Disjunctivism – Dispositional and occurrent belief – Divine command theory– Daimonic – Dogma – Doubt – Doxa – Doxastic attitudes – Dream argument – Duck test
Daniel M. Hausman is an American philosopher. His research has focussed primarily on methodological, metaphysical, and ethical issues at the boundaries between economics and philosophy. He is currently Herbert A. Simon Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
David Hume was a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, scepticism, and naturalism. Hume's empiricist approach to philosophy places him with John Locke, George Berkeley, Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes as a British Empiricist. Beginning with his A Treatise of Human Nature (1738), Hume strove to create a total naturalistic science of man that examined the psychological basis of human nature. Against philosophical rationalists, Hume held that passion rather than reason governs human behaviour. Hume argued against the existence of innate ideas, positing that all human knowledge is founded solely in experience.
Deductive closure is a property of a set of objects. A set of objects, O, is said to exhibit closure or to be closed under a given operation, R, provided that for every object, x, if x is a member of O and x is R-related to any object, y, then y is a member of O. In the context of statements, the deductive closure of a set S of statements is the set of all the statements that can be deduced from S.
– Eastern epistemology – Ecology of contexts – Edgar Morin – Editology – Edmund Gettier – Educology – Egocentric predicament – Elephant test – Emergence – Empirical evidence – Empirical method – Empirical relationship – Empirical research – Empiricism – Endoxa – Enneads – Epilogism – Episteme – Epistemic closure – Epistemic commitment – Epistemic community – Epistemic conservatism – Epistemic feedback – Epistemic minimalism – Epistemic possibility – Epistemic theories of truth – Epistemic theory of miracles – Epistemic virtue – Epistemicism – Epistemocracy – Epistemological anarchism – Epistemological idealism – Epistemological particularism – Epistemological pluralism – Epistemological psychology – Epistemological realism – Epistemological rupture – Epistemological solipsism – Epistemology – Epoché – Eristic – Ernst von Glasersfeld – Eureka effect – Everett W. Hall – Evidence – Evidentialism – Evil demon – Evolutionary argument against naturalism – Evolutionary epistemology – Exclusion principle (philosophy) – Existential phenomenology – Exoteric – Expectation (epistemic) – Experience – Experiential knowledge – Experientialism – Externism – Eyewitness testimony
– Fa (concept) – Fact – Factual relativism – Fact–value distinction – Faith and rationality – Fallibilism – Falsifiability – Feminist epistemology – Fideism – Finitism – Fitch's paradox of knowability – Fooled by Randomness – Formal epistemology – Formative epistemology – Foundationalism – Foundherentism – Fragmentalism – Frame problem – Frank Cameron Jackson – Fred Dretske – Frederick Wilhelmsen – Freethought – Functional contextualism
– G. E. Moore – Gaston Bachelard – Generativity – Genetic epistemology – George Berkeley – George Pappas – Gettier problem – Giambattista Vico – Gila Sher – Gilbert Harman – Gilbert Ryle – Giulio Giorello – Gnosiology – Gödel's incompleteness theorems
– Harry Binswanger – Heinz von Foerster – Helmut Wautischer – Here is a hand – Hierarchical epistemology – Hilary Kornblith – Humanism – Hume's fork
– I know it when I see it – I know that I know nothing – Ideological criticism – Ideology – Ignoramus et ignorabimus – Ignorance – Illuminationism – Immanuel Kant – Incorrigibility – Indeterminacy (philosophy) – Inductive reasoning – Inductivism – Infallibilism – Infallibility – Inference – Infinitism – Information source – Innatism – Insight – Intellectual responsibility – Internalism and externalism – Intersubjective verifiability – Intersubjectivity – Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology – Introspection – Intuition (Bergson) – Intuition (philosophy) – Intuition (psychology) – Intuitionism – Irrealism (philosophy) – Is logic empirical? – Islamization of knowledge
– Jean Piaget – Jean-Louis Le Moigne – Jean-Michel Berthelot – John Greco (philosopher) – John Hick – John Locke – John Searle – Jonathan Dancy – Jonathan Kvanvig - Jules Vuillemin – Justified true belief
– Karla Jessen Williamson – Katalepsis – Keith Lehrer – KK thesis – Knowing and the Known – Knowledge – Knowledge and Its Limits – Knowledge by acquaintance – Knowledge by description – Knowledge organization – Knowledge relativity
– Laplace's demon – Larry Laudan – Larry Sanger – Latitudinarianism (philosophy) – Laurence BonJour – Law (principle) – Leap of faith – Leonard Peikoff – Levels of adequacy – List of epistemologists – Logical holism – Logical positivism – Lottery paradox
– Maieutics – Map–territory relation – Margaret Elizabeth Egan – Mathematical proof – Meditations on First Philosophy – Memory – Meno – Meno's slave – Meta – Meta-epistemology – Metaphor in philosophy – Metaphysical naturalism – Metatheory – Methodical culturalism – Methodism (philosophy) – Methodological solipsism – Michel de Montaigne – Mind extension – Mioara Mugur-Schächter – Misotheism – Molyneux's problem – Moore's paradox – Moral rationalism – Multiperspectivalism – Mundane reason
– Naïve empiricism – Naïve realism – Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Naturalism (philosophy) – Naturalized epistemology – Nayef Al-Rodhan – Neopragmatism – Neutrality (philosophy) – New realism (philosophy) – Nicholas Rescher – Niklas Luhmann – Nomothetic – Nomothetic and idiographic – Noogony – Norman Malcolm – Noumenon
– Object (philosophy) – Objectivism (Ayn Rand) – Objectivity (philosophy) – Observation – Ontologism – Omphalos hypothesis – Opinion – Outline of epistemology – Overbelief
– P. F. Strawson – Pancritical rationalism – Panrationalism – Paradigm – Paradigm shift – Participatory theory – Paul Churchland – Perception – Perceptual learning – Peripatetic axiom – Perspectivism – Pessimism – Peter Millican – Peter Unger – Phenomenal conservatism – Phenomenalism – Phillip H. Wiebe – Philosophic burden of proof – Philosophical Fragments – Philosophical Investigations – Philosophical problems of testimony – Philosophical skepticism – Philosophical theology – Philosophical zombie – Philosophy of color – Philosophy of perception – Philosophy of science – Plato's Problem – Platonic epistemology – Pluralism (philosophy) – Pluralist theories of truth – Positivism – Postfoundationalism – Postmodern philosophy – Postpositivism – Pragmatic theory of truth – Pramāṇa – Praxeology – Predictive power – Preface paradox – Preformation theory – Presentationism – Presupposition (philosophy) – Primary/secondary quality distinction – Principle of charity – Private language argument – Privileged access – Probabilism – Probability interpretations – Problem of induction – Problem of other minds – Problem of the criterion – Problem of universals – Procedural knowledge – Proof (truth) – Propensity probability – Propositional attitude – Pseudointellectual – Psychological nominalism – Pyrrho – Pyrrhonism
– Ramification problem – Rational egoism – Rational fideism – Rational ignorance – Rationalism – Rationality – Reason – Reasonism – Redundancy theory of truth – Reformed epistemology – Regress argument – Relevant alternatives theory – Reliabilism – Religious epistemology – Robert Audi – Robert Nozick – Roderick Chisholm – Role of chance in scientific discoveries
– Sally Haslanger – Salvino Azzopardi – Satya – Scepticism and Animal Faith – Scottish Common Sense Realism – Self-evidence – Semantic externalism – Semantic theory of truth – Sensualism – Sextus Empiricus – Sherrilyn Roush – Simulated reality – Simulation hypothesis – Skepticism – Sleeping Beauty problem – Social constructionism – Social epistemology – Social Epistemology (journal) – Sociology of knowledge – Socrates – Solipsism – Sophist (dialogue) – Speculative reason – Steve Fuller (sociologist) – Subjectivism – Swamping problem – Swampman – Systemography
– Tabula rasa – Tarski's undefinability theorem – Techne – Telesis – Testimony – The Black Swan (Taleb book) – The Course in Positive Philosophy – The Extended Mind – The Postmodern Condition – The Republic (Plato) – The Roots of Reference – The Will to Believe – The World as Will and Representation – Theaetetus (dialogue) – Theomachist – Theory of Forms – Theory of justification – There are known knowns – Thick Black Theory – Thought experiment – Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (6.5) – Transcendent truth – Transcendental idealism – Transcendental philosophy – Transcendental realism – Transparency (philosophy) – Trenton Merricks – Truth – Truth by consensus – Truth predicate – Truth-value link – Twin Earth thought experiment – Two Dogmas of Empiricism – Two truths doctrine
– Uncertainty – Underdetermination – Understanding – Universal pragmatics – Unknown known – Unobservable – Upamāṇa
– Vagueness – Vasily Seseman – Verification theory – Verificationism – Verisimilitude – Veritism – Vienna Circle – Virtue epistemology – Visual space – Voluntarism (metaphysics)
– Walter Terence Stace – Ward Jones – What Engineers Know and How They Know It – Wilfrid Sellars – William Alston – William Crathorn – Word and Object – World Hypotheses – World view
– Yujian Zheng
– Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
In analytic philosophy, anti-realism is an epistemological position first articulated by British philosopher Michael Dummett. The term was coined as an argument against a form of realism Dummett saw as 'colorless reductionism'.
In philosophy, empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. It is one of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism. Empiricism emphasises the role of empirical evidence in the formation of ideas, rather than innate ideas or traditions. However, empiricists may argue that traditions arise due to relations of previous sense experiences.
Meta-ethics is the branch of ethics that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties, statements, attitudes, and judgments. Meta-ethics is one of the three branches of ethics generally studied by philosophers, the others being normative ethics and applied ethics.
The theory of justification is a part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant, rationality, and probability. Loosely speaking, justification is the reason that someone (properly) holds a belief.
In philosophy, rationalism is the epistemological view that "regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge" or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification". More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive".
Coherentism is the name given to a few philosophical theories in modern epistemology.
Critical rationalism is an epistemological philosophy advanced by Karl Popper. Popper wrote about critical rationalism in his works: The Logic of Scientific Discovery, The Open Society and its Enemies, Conjectures and Refutations, The Myth of the Framework, and Unended Quest. Ernest Gellner is another notable proponent of this approach.
Ethical intuitionism is a family of views in moral epistemology. At minimum, ethical intuitionism is the thesis that our intuitive awareness of value, or intuitive knowledge of evaluative facts, forms the foundation of our ethical knowledge.
Contextualism describes a collection of views in philosophy which emphasize the context in which an action, utterance, or expression occurs, and argues that, in some important respect, the action, utterance, or expression can only be understood relative to that context. Contextualist views hold that philosophically controversial concepts, such as "meaning P", "knowing that P", "having a reason to A", and possibly even "being true" or "being right" only have meaning relative to a specified context. Some philosophers hold that context-dependence may lead to relativism;.
Virtue epistemology is a contemporary philosophical approach to epistemology that stresses the importance of intellectual, and specifically epistemic virtues. A distinguishing factor of virtue theories is that they use for the evaluation of knowledge the properties of the persons who hold beliefs in addition to or instead of the properties of propositions and beliefs. Some advocates of virtue epistemology claim to more closely follow theories of virtue ethics, while others see only a looser analogy between virtue in ethics and virtue in epistemology.
Naturalized epistemology, coined by W. V. O. Quine, is a collection of philosophic views concerned with the theory of knowledge that emphasize the role of natural scientific methods. This shared emphasis on scientific methods of studying knowledge shifts focus to the empirical processes of knowledge acquisition and away from many traditional philosophical questions. There are noteworthy distinctions within naturalized epistemology. Replacement naturalism maintains that traditional epistemology should be abandoned and replaced with the methodologies of the natural sciences. The general thesis of cooperative naturalism is that traditional epistemology can benefit in its inquiry by using the knowledge we have gained from the cognitive sciences. Substantive naturalism focuses on an asserted equality of facts of knowledge and natural facts.
Laurence BonJour is an American philosopher and Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Washington.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to philosophy:
Broadly speaking, fallibilism is the philosophical claim that no belief can have justification which guarantees the truth of the belief. However, not all fallibilists believe that fallibilism extends to all domains of knowledge.
Initially developed by Roy Bhaskar in his book A Realist Theory of Science (1975), transcendental realism is a philosophy of science that was initially developed as an argument against epistemic realism of positivism and hermeneutics. The position is based on Bhaskar's transcendental arguments for certain ontological and epistemological positions based on what reality must be like in order for scientific knowledge to be possible.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to epistemology:
Formative epistemology is a collection of philosophic views concerned with the theory of knowledge that emphasize the role of natural scientific methods. According to formative epistemology, knowledge is gained through the imputation of thoughts from one human being to another in the societal setting. Humans are born without intrinsic knowledge and through their evolutionary and developmental processes gain knowledge from other human beings. Thus, according to formative epistemology, all knowledge is completely subjective and truth does not exist.
Jennifer Nagel is a Canadian philosopher in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on epistemology, philosophy of mind, and metacognition. She has also written on 17th century (Western) philosophy, including on John Locke and René Descartes.