Gnosiology ("study of knowledge"), a term of 18th-century aesthetics, 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 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.

Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714–1762) introduced the term "gnosiology" in conjunction with his efforts in the field of aesthetics.[5] The term "gnosiology" is not well known today, although found in Baldwin's (1906) Dictionary of Psychology and Philosophy.[6] 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 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.[7][8]

Within gnosiology, gnosis is derived by noesis.[9] 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.

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  1. ^
  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. ^ On actions, products and other topics in philosophy 1999 p. 183 (ed. Kazimierz Twardowski, Johannes Brandl, Jan Woleński).
  6. ^ William Warren Philosophical dimensions of personal construct psychology 1998 p24 "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."
  7. ^ "The Illness and Cure of the Soul" by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.
  8. ^ "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
  9. ^ 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."

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