Epistemology

Epistemology (/ɪˌpɪstəˈmɒləi/ (listen); from Ancient Greek ἐπιστήμη (epistḗmē) 'knowledge', and -logy), or the theory of knowledge, is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic justification, the rationality of belief, and various related issues. Epistemology is considered a major subfield of philosophy, along with other major subfields such as ethics, logic, and metaphysics.[1]

Debates in epistemology are generally clustered around four core areas:[2][3][4]

  1. The philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and the conditions required for a belief to constitute knowledge, such as truth and justification
  2. Potential sources of knowledge and justified belief, such as perception, reason, memory, and testimony
  3. The structure of a body of knowledge or justified belief, including whether all justified beliefs must be derived from justified foundational beliefs or whether justification requires only a coherent set of beliefs
  4. Philosophical skepticism, which questions the possibility of knowledge, and related problems, such as whether skepticism poses a threat to our ordinary knowledge claims and whether it is possible to refute skeptical arguments

In these debates and others, epistemology aims to answer questions such as "What do we know?", "What does it mean to say that we know something?", "What makes justified beliefs justified?", and "How do we know that we know?".[1][2][5][6][7][better source needed]


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