Today I’m going to talk about the philosophical context of the word Epistemology. The word itself comes from two greek words: “Episteme” which means knowledge and understanding and “Logia” which means science and study.
In a philosophical context, epistemology is the study of knowledge in general.
Examples of epistemology questions are:
- What does knowledge mean?
- How does a person get to know something?
- What is the basis for true knowledge?
Some say knowledge is justified or true belief. It means that a person must be able to justify the claim but the claim itself must be true and the person must believe it.
An example of that is, a person may say “I know that people have walked on the moon”.
For this to be true knowledge, it must be possible to justify that claim. It must also be a fact and the person must actually believe that people have walked on the moon.
To justify a belief you need evidence, the evidence must be of good quality, and should also be logical and reasonable evidence.
Over time there have been two major branches of philosophical epistemology.
Epiricism is one. It means that true knowledge is primarily founded on input from our senses. It’s important to refer to experience and observations when beliefs and claims are justified and proven.
The second branch is rationalism which is to emphasise reason rather than experience and observation. The rational and logical human mind is the source for new knowledge not the material world around us.
Epistemology has a huge impact on the scientific academics, given its importance for discussing the limits and possibilities of reporting new knowledge. Other academic departments have more or less an inherit interest in issues of knowledge.
So, in a short overview Epistemology is