Table of contents:
- According to Plato
- After Foucault
- Kun's paradigm
- Limits of discourse
- Epistema and doxa
- Michel Foucault's archeology of knowledge
- Critical ethos
- Principles and rules
"Episteme" is a philosophical term derived from the ancient Greek word ἐπιστήΜη (epistēmē), which can refer to knowledge, science, or understanding. It comes from the verb ἐπίστασθαι which means "to know, understand or be familiar". Further, this word will be abbreviated to the letter E.
According to Plato
Plato contrasts the episteme with the concept of "doxa", which denotes a common belief or opinion. Episteme also differs from the word "techne", which is translated as "craft" or "applied practice". The word epistemology comes from episteme. In simple words, an episteme is a kind of hyperbolization of the concept of "paradigm".
The French philosopher Michel Foucault used the term épistémè in a special sense in his work The Order of Things to refer to the historical - but not temporal - a priori judgment that grounds knowledge and its discourses and is thus the condition for their occurrence in a certain era.
AssertionFoucault's "épistémè", as Jean Piaget notes, was similar to Thomas Kuhn's notion of a paradigm. However, there are decisive differences.
While Kuhn's paradigm is a comprehensive "collection" of beliefs and assumptions that lead to the organization of scientific worldviews and practices, Foucault's episteme is not limited to science. It includes a wider range of reasoning (all science itself falls under the era system).
Kuhn's paradigm shift is the result of a series of conscious decisions made by scientists to address a forgotten set of questions. Foucault's episteme is something like the "epistemological unconscious" of the era. The essence of knowledge about a certain episteme is based on a set of initial, fundamental assumptions that are so fundamental to E. that they are empirically "invisible" to its components (such as people, organizations or systems). That is, they cannot be known by an ordinary person. According to M. Foucault, the formation of the episteme of classical rationality is a complex and multifaceted process.
Moreover, Kuhn's concept corresponds to what Foucault calls the theme or theory of science. But Foucault analyzed how opposing theories and themes can coexist in science. Kuhn is not looking for conditions for the possibility of resisting discourses in science, but simply looking for an invariant dominant paradigm that governs scientific research. The episteme stands above any discourses and paradigms and, in fact, determines them.
Limits of discourse
Foucault tries to demonstrate the constitutive limits of discourse and, in particular, the rules that ensure its productivity. Foucault argued that while ideology can infiltrate and shape science, it should not.
The views of Kuhn and Foucault may have been influenced by the French philosopher of science Gaston Bachelard's notion of an "epistemological gap", as indeed were some of Althusser's ideas.
Epistema and doxa
Starting with Plato, the idea of episteme was compared with the idea of doxa. This contrast was one of the key means by which Plato crafted his powerful critique of rhetoric. For Plato, the episteme was an expression or statement expressing the essence of any doctrine, that is, it was, as it were, its core. Doxa had a much narrower meaning.
A world committed to the episteme ideal is a world of clear and firm truth, absolute certainty and stable knowledge. The only possibility for rhetoric in such a world is to "make the truth more effective," so to speak. There is supposed to be a gap between the discovery of truth and its dissemination.
One could argue that we wouldn't even be human without our possession of the episteme. The problem rather lies in the fact that, on behalf of the episteme, we assert that the knowledge that we possess is the only true one. This is what the currently accepted E makes us say. It is essential for our self-identification as people, as well as "techne".Indeed, our ability to combine both of these concepts distinguishes us from other creatures and from people who lived in the past, as well as from various types of artificial intelligence. Animals have techne and machines have epistemes, but only we humans have both.
Michel Foucault's archeology of knowledge
Foucault's archaeological method attempts to uncover positive unconscious knowledge. The term to which the article is devoted, more broadly, denotes a set of "rules of formation" that make up the diverse and heterogeneous discourses of a given period and elude the consciousness of the supporters of these various discourses. It is the basis of all knowledge and common opinion. Positive unconscious knowledge is also reflected in the term "episteme". It is the condition for the possibility of discourse in a given period, an a priori set of formation rules that allow discourses and viewpoints to come into being.
Foucault's advocacy of a critical ethos through our historical ontology is based on Kant's desire and interest to explore the limits of our mind. However, Foucault's problem is not to understand what epistemological limits we must observe in order not to exceed them. Rather, his concern for limitations is related to the analysis of what is given to us as universal, necessary, obligatory knowledge. Indeed, in fact, ideas about mandatory and necessary knowledge change from era to era, depending on E.
Foucault's critical project ashe himself explains, is not transcendent in the Kantian sense, but is exclusively historical, genealogical and archaeological in nature. Reflecting on his methodological approaches, as well as how his goals differ from those of Kant, Foucault argues that his version of criticism does not seek to make metaphysics a science.
Principles and rules
In his writings, the philosopher Michel Foucault outlines what his archeology seeks to reveal. These are historical principles or a priori rules. Given this historicization a priori, the requirements for knowledge are partial, historically limited. Therefore, they are always open for revision. Of the many discursive events that a philosopher analyzes, the archeology of knowledge studies historical patterns and concepts of truth. This is the essence of the episteme in philosophy.
The task of genealogy, at least one of them, is to trace the various contingencies that have shaped us as human beings and our conceptions of the world. On the whole, Foucault's critical philosophical spirit seeks to give a broad and new impetus to the freedom of thought. And he does it very well, because he is considered one of the main philosophers of postmodernity. Episteme is the most important term in the philosophy of postmodernism. Understanding it is very interesting and informative, but it is quite difficult to figure it out.