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Gnosiology ("study of knowledge") is "the philosophy of knowledge and cognition".[1] In Soviet and post-Soviet philosophy, the word is often used as a synonym for epistemology.[2][3] The term is also currently used in regard to Eastern Christianity.[4]


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 "gnosiology" is not well known today, although found in Baldwin's (1906) Dictionary of Psychology and Philosophy.[5] The Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) remarks that "The term Gnosiology has not, however, come into general use".

The term "gnosiology" (Modern Greek: γνωσιολογία) is used more commonly in Modern Greek than in English. As a philosophical concept, gnosiology broadly means the theory of knowledge, which in ancient Greek philosophy was perceived as a combination of sensory perception and intellect and then made into memory (called the mnemonic system). When considered in the context of science, gnosiology takes on a different meaning: the study of knowledge, its origin, processes, and validity. Gnosiology being the study of types of knowledge i.e. memory (abstract knowledge derived from experimentation being "episteme" or teachable knowledge), experience induction (or empiricism), deduction (or rationalism), scientific abductive reasoning, contemplation (theoria), metaphysical and instinctual or intuitive knowledge. Gnosiology is focused on the study of the noesis and noetic components of human ontology.[6][7]

Within gnosiology, gnosis is derived by noesis.[8] Noesis refers to the experiences or activities of the nous. This makes the study and origin of gnosis and gnosiology the study of the intuitive and or instinctual.

Philosophy and Western esotericism[edit]

In The elements of logic (1811), William Duncan combined a Lockean theory of knowledge with syllogistic logic.[9]

In philosophy, gnosology (also known as gnoseology or gnostology[10]) literally means the study of gnosis,[11] meaning knowledge or esoteric knowledge. The study of gnosis itself covers a number of subjects, which include magic, noetics, gnostic logic, and logical gnosticism, among others.[12] Gnosology has also been used, particularly by James Hutchison Stirling,[10] to render Johann Gottlieb Fichte's term for his own version of transcendental idealism, Wissenschaftslehre, meaning "Doctrine of Knowledge".[13]

In Immanuel Kant's gnosology, intuition takes a prominent position and was introduced as appearing on two levels: that of sensation and intellectualization. Here, the so-called "intellectus ectypus" derives its knowledge of objects from intuitions of things-in-themselves without the forms of intuition while the "intellectual archetypus" creates the objects of its knowledge through the act of thinking them.[14] Emilii Medtner drew from Kant's gnosology along with the Kantian theory of knowledge to respond to Carl Jung's Zofingia Lectures, particularly to criticize the way intuition was conceived as a knowledge organ that is capable of functioning with validity and independence.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Collins Dictionary. "Gnosiology".
  2. ^ Great Soviet Encyclopedia. "Theory of knowledge".
  3. ^ Гносеология. Новейший философский словарь. Минск: Книжный Дом. А. А. Грицанов.1999.
  4. ^ John Meyendorff Christ in Eastern Christian thought 1975 p. 77: "The classical book on Eastern Christian gnosiology is by V. Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (London: James Clarke, 1957)".
  5. ^ William Warren Philosophical dimensions of personal construct psychology 1998 p. 24 "This term, gnosiology, is less well known today and a likely source for the description is Baldwin's (1906/1960) Dictionary of Psychology and Philosophy."
  6. ^ "The Illness and Cure of the Soul" by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.
  7. ^ "Theology's academic classification among the theoretical sciences or arts began in the 12th century in the west and is due to the shift of theology into metaphysics. Therefore, those in the East who condemn our own theology, demonstrate their Westernization, since they, essentially, condemn and reject a disfigured caricature of what they regard as theology. But what is the noetic function? In the Holy Scriptures there is, already, the distinction between the spirit of man (his nous) and the intellect (the logos or mind). The spirit of man in patristics is called nous to distinguish it from the Holy Spirit. The spirit, the nous, is the eye of the soul (see Matt. 6:226)." Rev. Prof. George Metallinos at University of Athens, Greece.
  8. ^ Saint Nicodemus the Hagiorite, The Philokalia, Macmillan, 1983, p. 432: "Intellection (noīsis): Not an abstract concept or a visual image, but the act or function of the intellect whereby it apprehends spiritual realities in a direct manner."
  9. ^ Haakonssen, Knud (2006), "Duncan, William", in Haakonssen, Knud (ed.), The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy, vol. 2, Cambridge University Press, p. 1166.
  10. ^ a b Krauth, Charles P. (1881). A Vocabulary of the Philosophical Sciences. New York: Sheldon & Company. p. 682.
  11. ^ "Glossary of Psychology Terminology, Words and Phrases". S2CID 16279560. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Bertiaux, Michael (2007). The Voudon Gnostic Workbook: Expanded Edition. San Francisco, CA: Weiser Books. p. 240. ISBN 9781578633395.
  13. ^ Albert Schwegler, Handbook of the history of philosophy, Edmondston & Co., 1879, p. 259.
  14. ^ Pilard, Nathalie (2018). Jung and Intuition: On the Centrality and Variety of Forms of Intuition in Jung and Post-Jungians. Routledge. pp. 217–218. ISBN 9781782201304.
  15. ^ Pilard, Nathalie (2015). Jung and Intuition: On the Centrality and Variety of Forms of Intuition in Jung and Post-Jungians. London: KARNAC. p. 216. ISBN 9781782201304.

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