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Epistemology

  • By: Jonathan M. Smith
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Knowledge is a type of belief, and epistemology is the study of knowledge, that is, the analysis of how we know the world, as opposed to ontology, which deals with what we take to be real. An epistemology is a worldview with a particular set of assumptions, a definition of truth, and priorities concerning what constitutes valid and important knowledge. Knowledge comprises those beliefs that are both true (they conform to what is real) and justified (the one who thinks them true has sufficient reason to think them true). This formulation attempts to formally distinguish the type of belief we call knowledge from other types of belief, such as errors (untrue beliefs) and lucky guesses (true beliefs held without justification).

Everyone has an epistemology, whether they ...

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