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Word of the Day: Gnosiology

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by Danna Martínez

Knowledge has an unlimited scope. However, studies require knowledge, just as knowledge also requires studies. Gnoseology is the branch of philosophy in charge of studying knowledge.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, “the philosophic theory of knowledgeinquiry into the basis, nature, validity, and limits of knowledge.”

The term gnoseology has its origin in the Greek words “gnosis” and “logos.” The word gnosis means knowledge or faculty of knowing. On the other hand, the word logos means a study, doctrine, or theory. The term gnoseology is also known as gnostology. Over time, society created various forms of knowledge study. Likewise, some philosophers have dedicated their life or part of it to this study and to defend it. Some of these philosophers are:

  • Aristotle. Greek philosopher and scholar during the classical period of Ancient Greece (384 BC – 322 BC). For this philosopher, the basis of knowledge is in the senses. Therefore, for Aristotle, sensory knowledge is not exclusive to human beings. Furthermore, Aristotle proposed the construction of the “concept” by identifying the properties of the known.
  • Descartes. Philosopher, mathematician, and scientist born in France (1596-1650). For this philosopher, it is essential to introduce the rational method to reach knowledge. Descartes maintains that beyond the senses, reason provides precise knowledge. Many of the following philosophical studies were examined based on the rationalist ideas of Descartes.
  • Kant. German philosopher and one of the central thinkers of the Enlightenment. One of the most influential figures in philosophy (1724-1804). Also, this philosopher raised criticism as a theory of knowledge. In this theory, Kant explained how knowledge is not generated entirely from sensory experience. As a result of this, Kant accepts reason and the senses as a source of knowledge.

This philosophical doctrine studies knowledge in general that is, without compromising particular or specific knowledge. Gnoseology or theory of knowledge deals with ordinary, intellectual, philosophical, and scientific knowledge. In this way, the theory of knowledge covers the origin, nature, and scope of the human being.

Gnoseology talks about how human knows reality. It also raises different methods or ideas that support how human conceives the truth.

Human being constantly struggles to have accurate knowledge about reality. On the other hand, gnoseological studies can come to think of the impossibility of knowing the real. This impossibility is explained because of the doubt about the sources of knowledge and its correct identification and transmission. In this way, the human would not have accurate knowledge. Instead, it would just be a conviction not necessarily rooted in reality.

In summary, gnoseology is the doctrine or philosophical theory that studies, analyzes, interprets, and exposes human knowledge in general.

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