ep·​i·​ste·​mic | \ˌe-pə-ˈstē-mik, -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 , -​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

The epistemic crisis Trump has accelerated is now morphing into a full-fledged crisis of democracy. David Roberts, Vox, "The caravan “invasion” and America’s epistemic crisis," 2 Nov. 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 The slow death of local media has contributed to the epistemic closure in conservative circles, especially in rural areas. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The rise of the American news desert," 9 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 Revkin focuses on details in climate science, not on grand epistemic theories. William Saletan, Slate Magazine, "Bret Stephens Should Take His Own Advice," 3 May 2017 After all, Republicans have taken pains to build an epistemic wall around their core voters, by delegitimizing the mainstream media, academics, or any kind of expert who does not flatter Sean Hannity’s intuitions. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Rand Paul Comes Out Against Trump’s ‘Middle-Class Tax Hike’," 2 Oct. 2017 Whether the lies are the result of a strategic mind or a careless one, the general effect is the same: epistemic exhaustion, among Trump’s fans and detractors alike. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Mona Lisa Presidency," 29 Sep. 2017 One axis goes from perceptual to epistemic curiosity. Jessica Gross, Longreads, "Why Are Humans So Curious?," 18 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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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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The first known use of epistemic was in 1922

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