Chapter 2: Epistemological Challenges

by Roman Egger & Chung-En Yu

Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Innovation and Management in Tourism

Epistemology is concerned with the preconditions and goals of knowledge, helping us to understand how knowledge is generated. However, in recent years, the availability of Big Data and the advancement of Data Science (DS) methods have led to heated discussions as well as to a divided scientific community. On the one hand, there are those who believe that knowledge can now be generated exclusively from data, rendering theory no longer necessary, while the opposing voices, on the other hand, do not want to rely solely on the results that algorithms extract from the data. As such, this chapter discusses both perspectives and warns against taking a one-sided position. Rather, the goal is to understand the advantages of both sides and to profit from the synergies between the two scientific approaches.