Definition of Epistemology
(noun) The philosophic study and theory of knowledge.
- American English – /i-pis-tuh-mAHl-uh-jee/
- British English – /e-pi-stee-mOl-uh-jee/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /əˌpɪstəˈmɑlədʒi/
- British English – /ɪˌpɪstəˈmɒləʤi/
- Plural: epistemologies
- Term coined by James Frederick Ferrier (1808–1864) in Institutes of Metaphysics (1856).
- Note: Read Institutes of Metaphysics for free at the Internet Archive.
- Epistemology seeks to understand how we know what we know to determine what is knowable; how can it be known; and if anything is truly knowable at all.
- Epistemology tries to determine the difference between knowledge and belief.
- Epistemics is the scientific study of knowledge as opposed to the philosophic study.
- An (noun) epistemologist studies knowledge (adverb) epistemologically to produce (adjective) epistemologic or (adjective) epistemic or (adjective) epistemological understanding.
- “Postmodern theorists, believe that entirely new ways of examining social life are needed and that it is time to move beyond functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interactionist approaches” (Kendall 2006:37).
- “What does post-modernity ordinarily refer to? Apart from the general sense of living through a period of marked disparity from the past, the term usually means one or more of the following: that we have discovered that nothing can be known with any certainty, since all pre-existing ‘foundations’ of epistemology have been shown to be unreliable; that ‘history’ is devoid of teleology and consequently no version of ‘progress’ can plausibly be defended; and that a new social and political agenda has come into being with the increasing prominence of ecological concerns and perhaps new social movements generally. Scarcely anyone today seems to identify post-modernity with what it was once widely accepted to mean – the replacement of capitalism by socialism” (Giddens 1990:46).
- Word origin of “epistemology” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Huemer, Michael, ed. 2002. Epistemology: Contemporary Readings. New York: Routledge.
- Steup, Matthias, John Turri, and Ernest Sosa, eds. 2014. Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Williams, Michael. 2001. Problems of Knowledge: A Critical Introduction to Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Giddens, Anthony. 1990. The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Kendall, Diana. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Bilton, Tony, Kevin Bonnett, Pip Jones, David Skinner, Michelle Stanworth, and Andrew Webster. 1996. Introductory Sociology. 3rd ed. London: Macmillan.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
O’Leary, Zina. 2007. The Social Science Jargon Buster: The Key Terms You Need to Know. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).
Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Cite the Definition of Epistemology
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “epistemology.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/epistemology/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
epistemology. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/epistemology/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “epistemology.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/epistemology/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“epistemology.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/epistemology/>.