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Outline of epistemology

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Title: Outline of epistemology  
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Outline of epistemology

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to epistemology:

Epistemology or theory of knowledge – branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge.[1] The term was introduced into English by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier (1808–1864).[2] Epistemology asks the questions: "What is knowledge?", "How is knowledge acquired?", and "What do people know?"

According to Plato, knowledge is a subset of that which is both true and believed.


  • Essence of epistemology 1
  • Branches of epistemology 2
  • Epistemological theories 3
    • Justification 3.1
    • Alphabetical Order 3.2
  • History of epistemology 4
  • Epistemological concepts 5
  • Persons influential in the field of epistemology 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Essence of epistemology

Branches of epistemology

Epistemological theories


  • Theories of justification
    • Foundationalism – Self-evident basic beliefs justify other non-basic beliefs.
    • Coherentism – Beliefs are justified if they cohere with other beliefs a person holds, each belief is justified if it coheres with the overall system of beliefs.
    • Internalism – The believer must be able to justify a belief through internal knowledge.
    • Externalism – Outside sources of knowledge can be used to justify a belief.
    • Skepticism – A variety of viewpoints questioning the possibility of knowledge.
    • Minority viewpoints include:
  • Common justifiers
    • Scientific method – body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new[3] knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.[4]
    • Occam's Razor – the principle that "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity" (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem). The popular interpretation of this principle is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. However, this is often confused, as the 'simple' "is really referring to the theory with the fewest new assumptions." [5]
    • Empiricism – theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge arises from evidence gathered via sense experience. Empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or tradition.[6]
    • Induction – kind of reasoning that allows for the possibility that the conclusion is false even where all of the premises are true.[7] The premises of an inductive logical argument indicate some degree of support (inductive probability) for the conclusion but do not entail it; i.e. they do not ensure its truth.
    • Pragmatism – philosophical movement that includes those who claim that an ideology or proposition is true if it works satisfactorily, that the meaning of a proposition is to be found in the practical consequences of accepting it, and that impractical ideas are to be rejected.
    • Probability theory – branch of mathematics concerned with analysis of random phenomena.[8] The central objects of probability theory are random variables, stochastic processes, and events: mathematical abstractions of non-deterministic events or measured quantities that may either be single occurrences or evolve over time in an apparently random fashion. If repeated many times the sequence of random events will exhibit certain statistical patterns, which can be studied and predicted.
    • Abductive Reasoning or Inference to the Best Explanation – kind of logical inference described by Charles Sanders Peirce as the process of arriving at an explanatory hypothesis. Thus, to abduce a hypothetical explanation a as a conclusion from a noticed curious circumstance b as a premiss, is to surmise that a may be true because then b would be a matter of course.[9]

Alphabetical Order

History of epistemology

Main article: History of epistemology

Epistemological concepts

Persons influential in the field of epistemology

Karl Popper

See also


  1. ^ Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Volume 3, 1967, Macmillan, Inc.
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, 2007
  3. ^ Goldhaber & Nieto 2010, p. 940
  4. ^ scientific method, Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  5. ^ The NESS: The Razor in the Toolbox
  6. ^ Baird, Forrest E.; Walter Kaufmann (2008). From Plato to Derrida. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.  
  7. ^ John Vickers. The Problem of Induction. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  8. ^ Probability theory, Encyclopaedia Britannica
  9. ^ Peirce, C. S. (1903), Harvard lectures on pragmatism, Collected Papers v. 5, paragraphs 188–189.

External links

  • What Is Epistemology? – a brief introduction to the topic by Keith DeRose.
  • Certain Doubts – a group blog run by Jonathan Kvanvig, with many leading epistemologists as contributors.
  • The Epistemological Lifeboat by Birger Hjørland & Jeppe Nicolaisen (eds.)
  • The Epistemology Page by Keith DeRose.
  • Epistemology Papers – a collection of Michael Huemer's papers.
  • Epistemology Introduction, Part 1 and Part 2 by Paul Newall at the Galilean Library.
  • (1986)Teaching Theory of Knowledge – Marjorie Clay (ed.), an electronic publication from The Council for Philosophical Studies.
  • Epistemology: The Philosophy of Knowledge – an introduction at Groovyweb.
  • Introduction to Theory of Knowledge – from PhilosophyOnline.
  • The Peripatetic – A practical introduction to the theory of knowledge
  • Theory of Knowledge – an introduction to epistemology, exploring the various theories of knowledge, justification, and belief.
  • A Theory of Knowledge by Clóvis Juarez Kemmerich, on the Social Science Research Network, 2006.
  • An Introduction to Epistemology by Paul Newall, aimed at beginners.
  • David Speaks Live - A lecture on Ontological Epistemology
  • On a Critical Epistemology
  • Language Perception and Action: Philosophical Issues
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Foundationalist Theories of Epistemic Justification
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Epistemology, 2. What is Justification?
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Public Justification
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Internalist vs. Externalist Conceptions of Epistemic Justification
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Coherentist Theories of Epistemic Justification
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