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Epistemology (/ɪˌpɪstɪˈmɒlədʒi/ (listen); from Greek ἐπιστήμη, epistēmē, meaning 'knowledge', and -logy) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge. Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief. Much debate in epistemology centers on four areas: (1) the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to such concepts as truth, belief, and justification, (2) various problems of skepticism, (3) the sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief, and (4) the criteria for knowledge and justification. Epistemology addresses such questions as: 'What makes justified beliefs justified?', 'What does it mean to say that we know something?', and fundamentally 'How do we know that we know?' The word epistemology is derived from the ancient Greek epistēmē meaning 'knowledge' and the suffix -logy, meaning 'logical discourse' (derived from the Greek word logos meaning 'discourse'). It is analogue to the German Wissenschaftslehre (literally, theory of science) which was introduced by philosophers Johann Fichte and Bernard Bolzano in the late 18th century. The word first appeared in English in 1847 as a translation of the German in New York's Eclectic Magazine review of a philosophical novel by German author Jean Paul: It was properly introduced in the philosophical literature by Scottish philosopher J.F. Ferrier in his Institutes of Metaphysics (1854): French philosophers then gave the term épistémologie a narrower meaning as philosophy of science. E.g., Émile Meyerson opened his Identity and Reality, written in 1908, with the remark that the word 'is becoming current' as equivalent to 'the philosophy of the sciences.' The idea of epistemology predates the word. John Locke describes his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) as an inquiry 'into the original, certainty, and extent of HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, together with the grounds and degrees of BELIEF, OPINION, and ASSENT'. According to Brett Warren, the character Epistemon in King James VI of Scotland's Daemonologie (1591) 'was meant to be a personification of a philosophical concept currently known as ‘epistemology’: the investigation into the differences of a justified belief versus its opinion.' In mathematics, it is known that 2 + 2 = 4, but there is also knowing how to add two numbers, and knowing a person (e.g., knowing other persons, or knowing oneself), place (e.g., one's hometown), thing (e.g., cars), or activity (e.g., addition). Some philosophers think there is an important distinction between 'knowing that' (know a concept), 'knowing how' (understand an operation), and 'acquaintance-knowledge' (know by relation), with epistemology being primarily concerned with the first of these. While these distinctions are not explicit in English, they are defined explicitly in other languages (N.B. some languages related to English have been said to retain these verbs, e.g. Scots: wit and ken). In French, Portuguese, Spanish, German and Dutch 'to know (a person)' is translated using connaître, conhecer, conocer and kennen (both German and Dutch) respectively, whereas 'to know (how to do something)' is translated using savoir, saber (both Portuguese and Spanish), wissen, and weten. Modern Greek has the verbs γνωρίζω (gnorízo) and ξέρω (kséro). Italian has the verbs conoscere and sapere and the nouns for 'knowledge' are conoscenza and sapienza. German has the verbs wissen and kennen; the former implies knowing a fact, the latter knowing in the sense of being acquainted with and having a working knowledge of; there is also a noun derived from kennen, namely Erkennen, which has been said to imply knowledge in the form of recognition or acknowledgment. The verb itself implies a process: you have to go from one state to another, from a state of 'not-erkennen' to a state of true erkennen. This verb seems the most appropriate in terms of describing the 'episteme' in one of the modern European languages, hence the German name 'Erkenntnistheorie'. The theoretical interpretation and significance of these linguistic issues remains controversial.

[ "Philosophy", "Identity problem", "human identity", "Rational fideism", "Omni art", "Comparative sociology" ]
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