EPISTEME is ‘knowledge’. This philosophical notion is in direct contrast with <doxa>, that is ‘common belief’ or ‘opinion’. Also it is different from <techne>, that is ‘craft’ or ‘applied practice’.

In fact, the opposition between <episteme> and <doxa> is central in the offensive by Platon (Plato) against rhetoric. Accordingly he thinks that <episteme> conveys or produces absolute certainty while <doxa> expresses opinion or probability.

Furthermore, here is what the Greek rhetorician Isokrates (Isocrates) says in Antidosis about <episteme>. “It is not in human nature to acquire knowledge (<episteme>) that would make us certain what to do or say. I consider one wise who has the ability through conjecture (<doxai>) to attain the best choice. I call philosophers those that engage themselves with that from which this sort of practical wisdom (<phronesis>) is speedily obtainable“.

Sokratiko Logo

<Episteme> is ‘knowledge’. Then it is interesting the comment of the American economist Stephen Alan Marglin. “I have no criticism to make of <episteme> as a system of knowledge. On the contrary, one can argue that we would not be human without our command of <episteme>. The problem is rather the claim made on behalf of <episteme> that it is all of the knowledge, from which stems its proclivity to crowd out other, equally important, systems of knowledge. While <episteme> is essential to our humanness, so is <techne>. Indeed, it is our ability to combine <techne> and <episteme> that sets us apart both from other animals and from computers. Animals have <techne> and machines have <episteme>, but only we humans have both“. (Farmers, Seedsmen, and Scientists: Systems of Agriculture and Systems of Knowledge, in Decolonizing Knowledge: From Development to Dialogue, ed. by Frédérique Apffel-Marglin and Stephen A. Marglin. Oxford University Press, 2004).