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What Is Episteme? About This Greek Term

EPISTEME – In this topic, we are going to know and learn about the Greek term which is called Episteme (ἐπιστήμη)


This philosophical term was referred to the a principled system of understanding; scientific knowledge. It also translates to ‘science‘ or ‘knowledge‘.

It is derived from the Ancient Greek term epístamai (ἐπῐ́στᾰμαι), which means ‘to know, to understand, to be acquainted with’. It is also where the philosophical study of knowledge epistemology got its name from.

Greek philosopher Plato contrasts the term to other two Greek terms namely: doxa, which means common belief or opinion; and techne, which means craft or applied practice.

It is also used by French philosopher Michel Foucault as a a specialized sense to mean the historical, non-temporal, a priori knowledge that grounds truth and discourses.

Due to this, the term represents the condition of their possibility within a particular epoch. He described the term as the following:

“In any given culture and at any given moment, there is always only one épistémè that defines the conditions of possibility of all knowledge, whether expressed in a theory or silently invested in a practice.”

READ ALSO: What Is Phronesis (φρόνησῐς) ? About This Greek Term

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