Agnoesis (ag-no-e-sis) is the knowing of unknowing. Just as Socrates proclaimed "all I know is that I know nothing," agnoesis represents a state of knowing, with certainty, what cannot be known. In a philosophical context, agnoesis represents the view that the true or ultimate nature of being is ineffable and beyond intellectual comprehension. To attain agnoesis, therefore, is to realize knowledge of what cannot be known, clearing the mind and returning the attention to direct awareness. Agnoesis is at the heart of spiritual discliplines such as Zen and Taoism.

In addition, agnoesis could be said to represent the epistemically-oriented view of modern Western analytic philosophy, which is summed up in Wittgenstein's maxim, "Of that which we cannot speak, we must pass over in silence." Through agnoesis, metaphysics is discovered to be empty.


The term "Agnoesis" is a neologism coined in September 2008 by Naturyl.