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From Ancient Greek ἐπιστήμη ‎(epistḗmē, science, knowledge), from ἐπίσταμαι ‎(epístamai, I know) + -λογία ‎(-logía, discourse), from λέγω ‎(légō, I speak). The term was introduced into English by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier (1808-1864).



epistemology ‎(plural epistemologies)

  1. (uncountable) 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 thinkers take the view that, beginning with the work of Descartes, epistemology began to replace metaphysics as the most important area of philosophy.
  2. (countable) A particular theory of knowledge.
    In his epistemology, Plato maintains that our knowledge of universal concepts is a kind of recollection.
    • 1995, Colin McLarty, “Preface”, in Elementary Categories, Elementary Toposes, ISBN 0 19 851473 5, page vii:
      I believe that 'intuitionism' is usually, and rightly, taken to mean Brouwer's epistemology of mathematics, which is unrelated to the origin or content of topos theory.

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