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).
- (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.
- 2014 April 12, Michael Inwood, “Martin Heidegger: the philosopher who fell for Hitler [print version: Hitler's philosopher]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review), London, page R10:
- [P]hilosophers of the time [early 20th century] were primarily concerned with epistemology and the foundations of the sciences; they often spoke as if we were separated from the real world by a screen of "representations" or "sense-data"; they tended to regard our approach to the world as one of disinterested observation.
- (countable) A particular theory of knowledge.
- In his epistemology, Plato maintains that our knowledge of universal concepts is a kind of recollection.
- 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.