epistemological turn

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epistemological turn (plural epistemological turns)

  1. (philosophy) In the history of Western philosophy, the shift in philosophical attention from the classical and medieval focus on themes of metaphysics to a primary focus on themes and issues relating to human knowledge, usually considered to have occurred during the period from Descartes (1596-1650) through Kant (1724-1804).
    • 1967, Wilfrid Sellars, "Some Remarks on Kant's Theory of Experience," The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 64, no. 20, p. 634,
      The core of Kant's "epistemological turn" is the claim that the distinction between epistemic and ontological categories is an illusion.
    • 1980, Robert Greene, "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature" (review of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature by Richard Rorty), MLN, vol. 95, no. 5, p. 1387,
      He spends several of the book's eight chapters giving an account of "the epistemological turn" of modern philosophy, dealing primarily with the thought of Descartes, Locke, and Kant.
    • 2004, Lex Newman, "Rocking the Foundations of Cartesian Knowledge," The Philosophical Review, vol. 113, no. 1, p, 102,
      On standard accounts, Descartes's epistemological turn—a sea change in the history of philosophy—is marked by an inside-out approach to philosophical inquiry, an approach owed to the priority of thought.

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