What are the differences, similarities, and contrasts between the two fields of study, namely, Theory of Knowledge and Epistemology?

Are these terms interchangeable? Are they near-identical?

What would be an example of something that would fall under the study of Theory of Knowledge and something that would fall under the study of Epistemology instead?

The term "theory of knowledge" is used in literature, such as in the text:--

  • Chisholm, Roderick M., et al. Theory of knowledge. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1989.

Prior Research:--

  • But epistemology is literally "study about knowledge".
    – rus9384
    Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 1:15
  • @rus9384 Should I delete this question and/or ask if this question is appropriate to be asked in meta? Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 1:17
  • @rus9384 Can you expand that into an answer? Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 1:39
  • @rus9384 Thank you for your input. Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 3:44

1 Answer 1


In standard philosophical parlance 'epistemology' and 'the theory of knowledge' are convertible, interchangeable. A crack of light might, however, develop between them. 'Epistemology' as practised in philosophy is concerned with questions such as 'how is knowledge of the external world possible ?', 'can we know other minds ?', 'is a priori knowledge possible?'.

The same questions are standardly pursued under 'the theory of knowledge' but my guess is that as AI and neurophysiology develop, knowledge will be 'theorised' under scientific auspices and become 'theoretical' on a scientific - empirical and hypothesis-testing - rather than a philosophical model.


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