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Epistemics is a term coined in 1969 by the University of Edinburgh with the foundation of its School of Epistemics.

Epistemics is to be distinguished from epistemology in that epistemology is the philosophical theory of knowledge, whereas epistemics signifies the scientific study of knowledge. Epistemics is also compared to Cognitive Science.[citation needed]

Christopher Longuet-Higgins has defined it as "the construction of formal models of the processes - perceptual, intellectual, and linguistic - by which knowledge and understanding are achieved and communicated.[1] In his 1978 essay "Epistemics: The Regulative Theory of Cognition,"[2] Alvin J. Goldman claims to have coined the term "epistemics" to describe a reorientation of epistemology. Goldman maintains that his epistemics is continuous with traditional epistemology and the new term is only to avoid opposition. Epistemics, in Goldman's version, differs only slightly from traditional epistemology in its alliance with the psychology of cognition; epistemics stresses the detailed study of mental processes and information-processing mechanisms that lead to knowledge or beliefs.

In the mid-1980s, the School of Epistemics was renamed as The Centre for Cognitive Science (CCS). In 1998, CCS was incorporated into the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics.[3]


  1. ^ Longuet-Higgins, Christopher (1977) [1969], "Epistemics", in A. Bullock & O. Stallybrass, Fontana dictionary of modern thought, London, UK:: Fontana, p. 209, ISBN 9780002161497
  2. ^ Goldman, Alvin J. (1978). "Epistemics: The Regulative Theory of Cognition". The Journal of Philosophy. 75 (10): 509–23. doi:10.2307/2025838. JSTOR 2025838.
  3. ^ http://www.cogsci.ed.ac.uk/school/