Word of the Day

Word of the day

Thursday, February 01, 2018

epistemic

[ ep-uh-stee-mik, -stem-ik ]

adjective

of or relating to knowledge or the conditions for acquiring it.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of epistemic?

The Greek noun epistḗmē “skill, knowledge, scientific knowledge, science” is a derivative of the verb epistánai “to know how (to do), believe (that), be acquainted with, know, know as a fact.” The verb is composed of the prefix epi- “on, over” and stánai “to stand.” Various languages use different prefixes plus the verb to stand to express intellectual comprehension: in Greek one “stands over”; in German verstehen means literally “stand before’”; and in English one “stands under.”

how is epistemic used?

Debates over epistemic principles sound abstract, but they have enormous practical repercussions. For instance, in order to decide policy matters (like what to put in our textbooks and what to teach in science classrooms) we need to decide on the facts.

Michael Lynch, "Defending Science: An Exchange," New York Times, March 11, 2012

The US is experiencing a deep epistemic breach, a split not just in what we value or want, but in who we trust, how we come to know things, and what we believe we know — what we believe exists, is true, has happened and is happening.

David Roberts, "America is facing an epistemic crisis," Vox, November 2, 2017
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