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Epistemology, in general, "is concerned with understanding what it is to have knowledge."[1]

More specifically, it is the study of the nature of knowledge, justification of beliefs, 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][3]
(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?",[4] "What does it mean to say that we know something?",[5] and fundamentally "How do we know that we know?"[6]


  1. Siderits 2007, Chapter 5.
  2. Steup, Matthias (2005). Zalta, Edward N., ed. "Epistemology". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 ed.). 
  3. Borchert, Donald M., ed. (1967). "Epistemology". Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 3. Macmillan. 
  4. Steup, Matthias (8 September 2017). Zalta, Edward N., ed. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University – via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 
  5. Carl J. Wenning. "Scientific epistemology: How scientists know what they know" (PDF). 
  6. "The Epistemology of Ethics". 1 September 2011. 


  • Siderits, Mark (2007), Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction, Ashgate Publishing Limited, ISBN 978-0754653691 
  • Steup, Matthias; Neta, Ram (Fall 2020), "Epistemology", in Zalta, Edward N., The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 
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