Epistemology is the philosophical study of knowledge. Epistemology derives from a Greek word for knowledge, episteme, the other Greek word for knowledge being gnosis—the root of English words such as prognosis, diagnosis, and agnostic. Where Greek distinguishes scientific, evidence-based episteme from intuitive gnosis, epistemology includes both under the general subject of knowledge.

People claim to know in three ways: (1) by acquaintance, for example, “I know Rebecca”; (2) by skill, for example, “I know how to dance”; or (3) by proposition, for example, “I know that the Earth is round.” Epistemology focuses on propositional knowledge.

Epistemology is relevant to business ethics because the study and practice of business ethics includes propositions about the rights, responsibilities, and moral character of stakeholders in the marketplace. Take, for example, the ...

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