The term “epistemology” comes from the Greek words “ἐπιστήμη” (epistēmē), meaning “knowledge,” and “λόγος” (logos), meaning “study” or “discourse.” Here’s a detailed chronological breakdown:

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*weid-” means “to see” or “to know.”

2. Ancient Greek

From the PIE root, the Ancient Greek word “ἐπίσταμαι” (epistamai) developed, meaning “to know.” The noun “ἐπιστήμη” (epistēmē) means “knowledge” or “understanding.” The word “λόγος” (logos) means “study,” “discourse,” or “reason.”

3. Late Latin

The Greek terms “ἐπιστήμη” (epistēmē) and “λόγος” (logos) were adopted into Late Latin as “episteme” and “logos,” respectively, maintaining their meanings.

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Latin terms influenced Middle English, although “epistemology” as a combined term did not yet exist in English.

5. Modern English (from 17th century CE to present)

The term “epistemology” was coined in the late 19th century, combining the Greek “epistēmē” (knowledge) and “logos” (study) to form “epistemology,” referring to the study of knowledge and justified belief.

The word “epistemology” reflects the philosophical study of knowledge, its nature, origin, and limits. It is a fundamental branch of philosophy that explores how we know what we know, the justification of belief, and the standards for truth and knowledge.