Sam Harris Dictionary: Epistemology

Sam Harris sometimes uses the word “epistemology” or “epistemological” on his Waking Up Podcast.

The word epistemology is derived from the Greek “episteme”, meaning knowledge. Epistemology studies the nature of knowledge, justification and the rationality of belief.

The French philosopher Michel Foucault believed an episteme represented a framework of ideas, beliefs, prejudices, norms and conventions that humans use as a system for thinking.

According to the book “Whiplash” by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe, Foucault believed that humans followed varying systems of ideas throughout time.

He believed that evidence of human epistemologies was indicative of changes in humanity during certain periods of history… In a way similar to archaeological records.

As Sam is an atheist, he might use the word epistemology in the following way:

The belief in the existence of God is arrived at as the result of a faulty paradigm, or epistemology.

Sam Harris often gets deep into discussion on epistemological grounds with people like Jordan Peterson.