Can you guys explain the meaning of the word epistemic and the use of it in a sentence? I cannot relate the meaning that I found to the sentences:

Epistemic - relating to knowledge or to the degree of its validation.

The sentence that I cannot make sense of with the above mentioned definition:

The Black Swan is the result of collective and individual epistemic limitations, mostly confidence in knowledge.

  • Please edit your question to include the definitions you found, and what you understand of them. Thanks for improving the question's reference value and making it more answerable! Oct 2, 2015 at 16:38
  • I edited it ,please be kind enough to take a look.thanks :)
    – Razor1692
    Oct 2, 2015 at 16:44
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    I once saw an image macro of two black swans, captioned "We're in ur antipodez, invalidating ur empirical inductionizm". Laughed my butt off. Can't find it now :(
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 2, 2015 at 19:09
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  • @DanBron Hey can you explain what "We're in ur antipodez, invalidating ur empirical inductionizm" means :)
    – Razor1692
    Oct 3, 2015 at 4:16

1 Answer 1


Epistemic comes from the Greek epistḗmē (ἐπιστήμη), meaning 'knowledge' or 'understanding'. It's used primarily in philosophy (including the field, Epistemology, that bears its name) as an adjective meaning "related to the abstract concept of knowledge or knowability".

An epistemic limitation, then, is a limitation relating to knowledge or knowability. An individual epistemic limitation would be a limitation of the ability of a given individual to know things, and a collective epistemic limitation is a limit on the knowledge of a society, or of all people.

A full discussion of the Black Swan Theory is beyond the scope of this answer. It is sufficient for our purposes to know that it deals with events that are very difficult or impossible to predict. The sentence is saying that its subject arises because of the limits of what individuals and societies know or can know, and that this is why it is difficult to predict.

  • Thanks a lot :D .I started reading the book Black Swan by Nasseem Taleb.Its brilliant.Have you read it ?
    – Razor1692
    Oct 3, 2015 at 1:38

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