In a philosophical context 0:13
What is knowledge? 0:31
To justify a belief 1:09
In a non-philosophical context 2:38
Formal epistemology 3:30
Genetic epistemology 4:02
Social epistemology 4:43
The word itself comes from two Greek words: "Episteme" = knowledge, understanding, and "Logia" = science, study.
EPISTEMOLOGY IN A PHILOSOPHICAL CONTEXT
In philosophy, epistemology is the study of knowledge, in general.
Examples of epistemological questions are:
What does knowledge mean?
How does a person get to know something?
What is the basis for true knowledge?
What is knowledge?
Knowledge is justified, true belief. It means that:
• the person must be able to justify the claim
• the claim itself must be true, and
• the person must believe in it
Let us assume that a person says '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, i.e. people have indeed been to the moon
• And, finally, the person must also actually believe that people have walked on the moon
To justify a belief Beliefs (claims) must be justified. This is done by using evidence.
• This evidence must be of good quality
• The evidence should also be logical and reasonable
Over time, two major branches of philosophical epistemology have developed
True knowledge is primarily founded on input from our senses It is important to refer to experience and observations when beliefs and claims are justified and proven Ideas or traditions are not the primary, most important source for knowledge
Rationalism emphasizes reason, rather than experience and observations, as the primary basis for justifying beliefs and claims.
Thus, the rational (hence rationalism) and logical human mind is the source for new knowledge, not the material world around us.
Research results are verified primarily by reasoning.
EPISTEMOLOGY IN A NON-PHILOSOPHICAL CONTEXT
The concept of epistemology is also used outside philosophy.
This is because the task of producing new knowledge is a major part of the everyday work of academics.
Thus, epistemology has a significant impact on the scientific endeavors of most scholars, given its importance for discussing the limits and possibilities of creating and reporting new knowledge.
Further, scholars in academic departments and disciplines such as curriculum and instruction, educational science, and pedagogy have, more or less, an inherent interest in issues related to knowledge. This is because they often discuss, conduct research about, and report research results about what knowledge is and how it is transferred between individuals and groups.
Formal epistemology is the study of questions such as: what is knowledge, how may a belief be justified, how do we know that something is true?
However, the theories, concepts, and arguments used here are used in a non-philosophical context.
For example in mathematical logic, statistics, linguistics, computing and other academic fields.
Genetic epistemology Genetic epistemology is used to study the cognitive development among children and how children understand, learn, and acquire new knowledge. Sensory-motor schemes (impressions and experiences) affects symbolic systems (thoughts and knowledge).
Social epistemology is about the social context for creating new knowledge. Social epistemology is studied in academic fields such as sociology, psychology and education. In focus are human and social aspects of knowledge production. For example, historical and cultural factors, access to and use of learning tools, and so on.
You can read more about epistemology in some of the many articles that are available on line, for example: http://www.streetarticles.com/science/what-is-epistemology
Text and video (including audio) © Kent Löfgren, Sweden