A Study of Epistemology

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A Study of Epistemology

In the sixth century B.C., Homer alludes to a separation of knowledge between the mortals and the gods. He speaks of both gods and human beings as “knowing things”- creatures of knowledge. However, there is a “great difference in the quality and the scope of the knowledge available to the two groups” (Everson, Pg.12). For the mortal human being the contrast between “divine and human knowledge”, paired with possible deception by the gods, has led him to question the idea of knowledge as it exists independently, reminding him that there are many things he cannot “know for certain” (Everson, Pg. 13).

Epistemology, as it exists today, is a branch of philosophy that studies knowledge in an attempt to distinguish “true” understanding from “false”. In other words, Epistemology seeks to separate adequate knowledge from the inadequate (Heylighen, Pg. 1). The first theories of such knowledge emphasized the need for an “absolute, permanent character”, whereas proceeding theories looked to the importance of relativity, or what Heylighen calls “situation-dependence” (Heylighen, Pg. 1). As a tangent of basic philosophy, Epistemology has evolved from a study of distinction (between what is “true”, and “false”), to a study of knowledge as formulated through physical evolution, and worldly interference. Presently, there is a move towards a more “evolutionary” approach to epistemology, with an inclination from a “static, passive” interpretation of knowledge towards a more “adaptive and active” one (Heylighen, Pg. 1).

This progression is formally recognized post-renaissance, with the emergence of two main epistemological positions: empiricism and rationalism (Institut fur Evolutions...

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...ology as relating to Darwin, Popper, and Campell.

Computational Epistemology Laboratory. U of Waterloo. 5 Sept 2002

Annotation: This site offers lots of information regarding connections between emotion, empathy, and cognition. Prof. Paul Thagard, organizes the site filtering the study of epistemology through lenses of coherence, emotion, and social collaboration.

“Epistemology”. 2002.

Annotation: A fabulous reference site including philosophy resource links by historical time period, philosophic subject, tradition, or school of thought.


Bronowski, Jacob. The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination. Yale University Press.

New Haven: 1978.

Everson, Stephen. Epistemology. Cambridge University Press. New York: 1990.
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