ep·​i·​ste·​mic | \ ˌe-pə-ˈstē-mik How to pronounce epistemic (audio) , -ˈste-mik \

Definition of epistemic

: of or relating to knowledge or knowing : cognitive

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Other Words from epistemic

epistemically \ ˌe-​pə-​ˈstē-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce epistemically (audio) , -​ˈste-​mi-​ \ adverb

The Evolution of Epistemic

Epistemic has shifted from the arcane worlds of philosophy, linguistics, and rhetoric to the practical realms of business and marketing; for example, a 2007 Letter to Shareholders from the asset management firm Legg Mason referred to investors who "have a high epistemic threshold and do exhaustive analysis to create near certainty, or at least very high conviction, about their investments." Wherever it is used, epistemic traces back to the knowledge of the Greeks. It comes from epistēmē, Greek for "knowledge." That Greek word is from the verb epistanai, meaning "to know or understand," a word formed from the prefix epi- (meaning "upon" or "attached to") and histanai (meaning "to cause to stand"). The study of the nature and grounds of knowledge is called epistemology, and one who engages in such study is an epistemologist.

Examples of epistemic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But Citizen suggested how violence—epistemic, political, environmental—never rested far from the Black experience. Kierstan Carter, The New Republic, "Claudia Rankine Has a Few Questions," 6 Oct. 2020 Logging on already provides a daily megadose of paranoia (mass surveillance), epistemic vertigo (deepfakes), and fremdschämen (thirstposting). Meghan O'gieblyn, Wired, "Is the Internet Conscious? If It Were, How Would We Know?," 16 Sep. 2020 As the agency went on the press offensive, the calls from attorneys and organizations like Amnesty International immediately collapsed into the maelstrom of uncertainty and epistemic chaos that has defined the Trump era. Gaby Del Valle, The New Republic, "The Pandemic-Era Rebrand of Family Separation," 15 June 2020 Self-locating uncertainty is a different kind of epistemic uncertainty from that featured in pilot-wave models. Quanta Magazine, "Where Quantum Probability Comes From," 9 Sep. 2019 The new conspiracism moves us from gap to chasm, for epistemic polarization ultimately dissolves our common sense of the world. N.c., The Economist, "Conspiracy theories are dangerous—here’s how to crush them," 12 Aug. 2019 On top of that, America is experiencing an epistemic crisis, and with that has come a crisis of authority in journalism. David Roberts, Vox, "My advice for aspiring explainer journalists," 9 Dec. 2018 Facebook’s epistemic crisis is perhaps the biggest story in tech and media from the last year. Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, "Why Can’t Facebook Tell the Truth?," 10 May 2018 Perceptual curiosity is often unpleasant until an ambiguity is resolved, while epistemic curiosity can be enjoyable while on the quest for new terrain. Matthew Hutson, WSJ, "It Never Hurts to Ask," 19 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epistemic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of epistemic

1922, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of epistemic was in 1922

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epistemic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epistemic. Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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