‘Episteme’: according to Emanuele Severino

Truth perception

Alberto Ballocca
3 min readJan 17


Article dedicated to a small part of the profound and enlightened thought of the italian philosopher and composer Emanuele Severino, which I have decided to translate exclusively for my readers here on medium.

Some parts have been adapted for linguistic needs and conceptual transpositions according to the english language.

Emanuele Severino (Brescia, February 26th, 1929 — Brescia, January 17th, 2020)

Emanuele Severino’s thought is particularly directed to the study of the episteme, although he judges it from a critical point of view.

Epistème (Greek ἐπιστήμη, composed of the preposition epi-,«on», + the verb, histemi, which means «to stay», «to place», «to establish»: therefore, «what keeps -it-self up»)

Is a term that indicates the certain and incontrovertible knowledge of the causes and effects of becoming of reality, or that knowledge that is established on certain foundations, above any possibility of doubt around the reasons for the events.

The term episteme is often translated simply as “science” or “knowledge” and in modern times the term epistemology means the historical and methodological study of experimental science and its currents.

According to Emanuele Severino, the whole history of philosophy is the history of the events of the episteme, explained as an incessant attempt by philosophical and scientific thought to place itself “above” the concept of becoming, seen as the primary cause of all forms of anguish.

Forms of episteme are not only what Severino calls the three great syntheses of human thought (Plato, Aristotle and Hegel), but also the systems of thought that historically oppose the traditional sense of truth, such as positivism, scientism and neo-positivism.

According to Severino, the history of philosophy in the contemporary age has remained marked by the conflict between the epistemic-theological apparatus on one hand, which is an expression of traditional metaphysical knowledge, and the scientific-technological apparatus on the other: the first is founded on the control of becoming by God or a Divinity, the second on the control of becoming by the Technique, which originated from man’s seek for power.

The outcome of the clash, materialized in the struggle for the prevalence between ideologies (capitalism, communism, christianity, technology), would see the decline of the episteme and the prevalence of technology, guided by science: the episteme, being prediction, cancels the sense of becoming, whose power lies in its unpredictability.

Among other things, this means that modern science itself can no longer present itself as a prediction, that is, as a form of the episteme, becoming as hypothetical knowledge: here then is that becoming can also endanger technology.

Socrates 1, Transistors 0. And this is not a binary thinking.

The outcome of the destiny of truth must therefore return to the original conception of being, for man, the awareness of the eternity of all entities and therefore of the non-existence of becoming, its presupposition, whose evocation, which took place for the liberation of the power of man, is pure madness, since, as Parmenides said, “being is and cannot not be”, with or without technological implementations.



Alberto Ballocca

Contemporary artist based in Italy | Ancient & archaic cultures passionate / Articles in here expose my creative horizons 🔗 https://www.albertoballocca.com/