Meaning of Epistemology

What is Epistemology:

Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that deals with studying the nature, origin and validity of knowledge.

The word epistemology is made up of the Greek words ἐπιστήμη (epistéme), which means ‘knowledge’, and λόγος (logos), which translates ‘study’ or ‘science’.

In this sense, epistemology studies the foundations and methods of scientific knowledge. To do this, it takes into account historical, social and psychological factors in order to determine the process of construction of knowledge, its justification and veracity.

Hence, epistemology seeks to provide answers to questions such as: what is knowledge? Does it derive from reason or experience? How do we determine that what we have understood is, in fact, true? What do we achieve with this truth?

For this reason epistemology is a discipline that is used to apply in science in order to establish the degree of certainty of scientific knowledge in its different areas. In this way, epistemology can also be considered part of the philosophy of science.

See also Scientific knowledge.

In addition, epistemology generates two positions, an empiricist one that says that knowledge must be based on experience, that is, on what has been learned during life, and a rationalist position, which maintains that the source of knowledge is reason. , not the experience.

On the other hand, epistemology, from the point of view of philosophy, can also refer to the theory of knowledge or gnoseology.

In this sense, it would come to refer to the study of knowledge and thought in general. However, there are authors who prefer to distinguish epistemology, which focuses primarily on scientific knowledge, from epistemology.

See also Gnoseology.

History of epistemology

Epistemology arose in Ancient Greece with philosophers like Plato, who opposed the concept of belief or opinion to that of knowledge.

In this way, while opinion is a subjective point of view, without rigor or foundation, knowledge is the true and justified belief that has been obtained after a rigorous process of verification and validation.

However, it was not until the Renaissance that the term epistemology began to develop as such, when great thinkers such as Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, René Descartes, Isaac Newton, John Locke or Immanuel Kant, among others, devoted themselves to analyzing the phenomena scientists and their veracity.

Later, in the 20th century, important schools of epistemology appeared, such as logical neopositivism and critical rationalism. Bertrand Russell and Ludwing Wittgenstein influenced the Vienna Circle, giving rise to the first epistemological school.

See also Objectivity.

Genetic epistemology

Genetic epistemology is a theory that maintains that both knowledge and intelligence are adaptive phenomena of the human organism to its environment.

As such, genetic epistemology is a theory developed by the psychologist and philosopher Jean Piaget from the synthesis of two previous theories: apriorism and empiricism.

For the author, knowledge is not something innate in the individual, as confirmed by apriorism, nor is it something that is achieved solely through observation of the environment, as affirmed by empiricism.

Hence, for Piaget, knowledge is produced thanks to the interaction of the individual with his environment, in accordance with the structures that are part of the individual.

Legal epistemology

As legal epistemology, it is called the area of ​​the Philosophy of Law that is responsible for studying and examining the intellectual methods and procedures that jurists use when identifying, interpreting, integrating and applying the legal norm.

In this sense, it is an area that is linked to the analysis and understanding of the factors that determine the origin of Law, and one of its objectives is to try to define its object.

Legal epistemology addresses the human being as a unique being, who presents different ways of thinking, acting and reacting, due to which the law can have various interpretations.

Some of the most important legal epistemologies in history are natural law and legal positivism.

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