Weekly Word: Epistemological

Yesterday, in my first college class, the syllabus had this quote by Annie Dillard: “The writing has changed, in your hands, and in a twinkling, from an expression of your notions to an epistemological tool.” Then the professor asked if anyone in the class knew what epistemological means. No hands were raised. I knew it had to mean “relating to epistemology”, but I didn’t know what that meant either.

So, thanks to college, I learned that epistemology is “a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge”. The Online Etymology Dictionary says that epistemology comes from the Greek word episteme, meaning “knowledge”.

I assume that an “epistemological tool” helps you explore knowledge. I found more obscure epistemological things on Google News, like “a cruel epistemological riddle”, “epistemological preferences”, and “epistemological vertigo”.