What Questions Does Epistemology Answer?


Diego Sanchez

Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that studies knowledge and justification. It addresses questions such as how we acquire knowledge, what counts as knowledge, and how we can be sure that our beliefs are justified. In this article, we will explore some of the key questions that epistemology seeks to answer.

What is Knowledge?

One of the most fundamental questions in epistemology is what constitutes knowledge. Knowledge can be defined as a justified true belief. In other words, for something to count as knowledge, it must be true, you must believe it to be true, and you must have good reasons (justification) for believing it to be true.

How do We Acquire Knowledge?

Another important question in epistemology is how we acquire knowledge. This question deals with the sources of knowledge. There are several ways in which we can acquire knowledge:

  • Sensory experience: We can learn about the world through our senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell).
  • Reasoning: We can use our faculty of reason to deduce new information from existing information.
  • Testimony: We can learn from others by accepting what they tell us.

What Counts as Justification?

Justification is an essential component of knowledge. But what counts as justification?

This is another key question in epistemology. There are several types of justification:

  • Evidence: Evidence can come in many forms – empirical data, logical arguments, expert testimony etc.
  • A Priori Reasoning: A priori reasoning involves using reason alone to arrive at conclusions without relying on empirical evidence.
  • Reliabilism: Reliabilism is the view that a belief is justified if it is produced by a reliable cognitive process.

How Can We Be Sure We Are Not Wrong?

Finally, epistemology deals with the question of certainty. How can we be sure that our beliefs are true and justified?

Can we ever be certain about anything? Some philosophers argue that absolute certainty is impossible. However, most epistemologists agree that we can have degrees of certainty based on the strength of our justification.


Epistemology is a fascinating field that addresses some of the most fundamental questions about knowledge and justification. By exploring these questions, we can gain a deeper understanding of how we acquire knowledge and how we can be confident in our beliefs.