Epistemology is the predetermining and larger semantic container of the two, in that it explores and defines how we know what we know, and why we believe what we believe.
Metaphysics, in turn, influences epistemic proposals in its preliminary assumptions about the nature of being, which in turn shape the categories and processes of knowing — but it is still subordinate to epistemology (or, more precisely, nested within it), because all metaphysical discussion presupposes a given set of epistemic methods and assumptions.
That said, the two areas of consideration have often been intimately related, so that some might consider a “chicken-and-egg” dynamic in play. I would lean away from this being the case — it seems clear that epistemology ultimately provides the conceptual framework within which any metaphysical proposals will be constructed. Epistemology — in its formulations of language, hermeneutics, logic, etc. — offers us the foundation for all metaphysical inquiry.
Of course, in my own approach to epistemology (see Sector Theory 1.0 or http://www.tcollinslogan.com/res...) the gap between knowing and being seems to be narrowing, so that the differentiation I’ve just made is no longer as clear or assertive. Yes, I’m in danger of contradicting what I just said. Alas, I think this is the nature of the wily beast we call consciousness, so that we must always remain vigilant and open to revising our assumptions.
My 2 cents.
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