I was reading a History of Ancient Philosophy (from the National Research council in Spain, CSIC) book where the following Xenophanes' fragment B34 is classified as gnoseological, without further details on why:

…and of course the clear and certain truth no man has seen nor will there be anyone who knows about the gods and what I say about all things. For even if, in the best case, one happened to speak just of what has been brought to pass, still he himself would not know.

This is the first time I've seen the term, so I looked up it at SEP (since the Wikipedia page already has its troubles) and found on Metaepistemology that it is a subcategory in epistemology (which is the usual term I had so far seen for the fragment):

two distinct but complementary “sides” [..]: the side that concerns our evaluation of our constitutive attempts to gain knowledge [..] and the side that concerns our evaluation of which inquiries to take up, and how to sustain them given our limited resources, interests, and concerns. Ernest Sosa [..] refers to these two sides of epistemology, broadly construed, as gnoseology and intellectual ethics, respectively.

However, I fail to see how the fragment is not also about the second part (intellectual ethics) conforming epistemology too, since it explicitly sentences inquiries about the gods and what I say about all things to be out of reach. That's why I thought that epistemology was better suited as a label for the fragment, since it is very broad. What is purely gnoseological about it that I am failing to see, or, instead, is this an instance of over-labelling?

  • Epistemology is more modern, regarding also scientific knowledge. Feb 24 at 11:46
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    See Gnoseology: "The term is derived from the Ancient Greek words gnosis ("knowledge", γνῶσις) and logos ("word" or "discourse", λόγος). Linguistically, one might compare it to epistemology, which is derived from the Greek words episteme ("certain knowledge") and logos. The term is not well known today". Feb 24 at 12:02
  • Having said that, your question is not very clear... The SEP's entry regarding Xenophanes that you are linking points to the section Reflections on Knowledge and starts with "Five surviving fragments and roughly a dozen testimonia address what might be termed ‘epistemological questions’..." Thus, the context of the fragment (for what we know) is "human knowledge". Feb 24 at 14:04


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