I bought Epistemology, by Richard Fumerton and Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction, by Robert Audi. Can you suggest other titles and also some criticism on them?

  • Welcome, and thanks for the interesting question! Is there any chance you could tell us a little bit more about your motivations with your study, give us a little bit more about what you're looking for?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Feb 29, 2012 at 1:09
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    Unless you plan on returning those books, I would recommend that you start with those and go from there. Surveying the breadth of all epistemology books is not really necessary unless you plan on writing a book on epistemology... just one should be sufficient for the basics and provide you the understanding with which to figure out where you want to learn more in the field.
    – stoicfury
    Feb 29, 2012 at 5:14
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    Question for you: Is there a particular reason you are reading epistemology, as opposed to a broader introductory philosophy book? Out of context, it seems like a strange choice to just pick a subfield of philosophy and start reading there. It's like reading a book about cats when you are interested in all animals...
    – stoicfury
    Feb 29, 2012 at 17:29
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    It's possible a more general introduction to philosophy with perhaps an emphasis on epistemology might not be the worst place to get started for a survey and getting very generally acquainted with the domain -- if you can frame your concern in terms of a plan of study, a problem you're encountering or a question about a concept or work you're trying to answer, it will definitely help potential answerers frame constructive responses
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jul 14, 2012 at 15:53
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    @GustavoBandeira I don't know what your goals are so it's impossible to say if you'll profit more or less. Are you taking up the study of philosophy for the first time? Or are you trying to prepare for a particular course (in epistemology)? etc
    – stoicfury
    Jul 14, 2012 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


There are many explanations about the epistemology from a variety of sources. I suggest you read this introduction about epistemology.

To make your reading easier, i will try to explain related to this introduction. I will try to explain the simple structure of epistemology with simple explanation as well. Hopefully you can understand the basic structure of epistemology and further having ability to expand understanding at any directions with reasonable open minded.

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that is expected to help us to understand anything at all about knowledge.

The final goal of the study of epistemology is expected that we can know the existence of a knowledge.

Some limitations of epistemology can be determined by understanding:

  • What is knowledge?
  • Relation to belief
  • Also how to obtain it.
  • And the farthest limits that can be achieved by epistemology.

What is knowledge? Knowledge is justified true belief.

  • Something is true and we believe it proven (justified) to be useful or we believe (and justified) that something is true, therefore we found knowledge.

  • We believe in something, because something is justified as true and useful, then it's a knowledge

What is belief? If knowledge is justified true belief, then how can someone exclude "belief" to make a separated definition? (since "belief" already within knowledge)

Some philosophers assert knowledge can be gained without belief. Something can be considered as knowledge without obligation to belief it.

  • Whether a statement is true or not, or whether something is true or not (because lack of awareness), but once we perceive it, then it's already a knowledge.

  • By defining knowledge as something true or false, a belief has its own place to be defined. It's a true knowledge. What i believe is a true knowledge.


It's about the way we believe in something. We believe in something because something can be justified reasonably.

The discussion about how to provide better justification is debatable. From The Gettier Problem, Reliabilism and many more.

But the essence is, because something may be considered to be true at different point of view, therefore there is different justification whether something is true for someone may be different for someone else. There is no general aggreement of what is the correct justification.


  • Knowledge is something true because we believe it through justification (reasonable justification), OR
  • Knowledge is something true or false and belief is the true knowledge.

How to obtain knowledge?

Further we can expand our understanding about justification on knowledge by understanding how to obtain knowledge through a priori & a posteriori justification.

  • Kant said that a priori knowledge is “knowledge that is absolutely independent of all experience” (Kant 1787, 43)

    We can have a correct understanding because we know something is correct without experiencing something outside ourselves to justify the correctness.

  • “Water is H2O” is a necessary truth, but it can only be justified empirically, that is, a posteriori

    We are sure of something because something must be justified through empirical experiences.

What is the farthest limits that can be achieved by epistemology?

It depends on how far for someone define empirical. If empirical is anything that can be perceived by our five senses, then our knowledge may be widen as far as what can be perceived by our five senses. But if someone believe in sixth sense then knowledge can be more widen then usually known through the five senses. We can learn this through divine illumination.

My criticism is to remind us to define proposition as dependency to avoid us from contradiction and paradox. These are my point of view to make a better comparison to widen our possibilities to understand epistemology. Knowledge & Belief, Dependency of Proposition & Is a priori knowledge possible?.

It's not a complete introduction on epistemology, but may be it's a start to make easy understanding to explore further within possibilities of epistemology.

  • I also found a book that seems to fit my pourpose.
    – Red Banana
    Jul 17, 2012 at 21:32
  • That's great Gustavo and thank you, i hope we can deepening further on this direction :)
    – Seremonia
    Jul 18, 2012 at 0:29

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