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Ignorance

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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  1. Jens Christian Bjerring, Jens Ulrik Hansen & Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen (2014). On the Rationality of Pluralistic Ignorance. Synthese 191 (11):2445-2470.
    Pluralistic ignorance is a socio-psychological phenomenon that involves a systematic discrepancy between people’s private beliefs and public behavior in certain social contexts. Recently, pluralistic ignorance has gained increased attention in formal and social epistemology. But to get clear on what precisely a formal and social epistemological account of pluralistic ignorance should look like, we need answers to at least the following two questions: What exactly is the phenomenon of pluralistic ignorance? And can the phenomenon arise among perfectly rational agents? In (...)
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  2. Daniel Carpenter (forthcoming). The Leaning Tower of PISA: Fundamental Problems in Ignorance-Based Theories of State Autonomy. Critical Review.
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  3. Samuel DeCanio, Jeffrey Friedman, David R. Mayhew, Michael H. Murakami & Nick Weller (2008). Roundtable 3: Political Ignorance, Empirical Realities. Critical Review 20 (4):463-480.
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  4. Robert S. Erikson (2007). Does Public Ignorance Matter? Critical Review 19 (1):23-34.
    ABSTRACT Recent scholarship has attempted to restore the reputation of the American electorate, even though its level of political interest and information has not measurably increased. Scott Althaus?s Collective Preferences in Democratic Politics challenges this revisionist optimism, arguing that opinion polls misrepresent the interests of a large segment of society, and that they therefore get too much attention as a guide to policy makers, because those being polled are so ill informed. But Althaus overestimates the degree to which respondent ignorance (...)
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  5. Anthony J. Evans & Jeffrey Friedman (2011). “Search” Vs. “Browse”: A Theory of Error Grounded in Radical (Not Rational) Ignorance. Critical Review 23 (1-2):73-104.
    Economists tend to view ignorance as ?rational,? neglecting the possibility that ignorance is unintentional. This oversight is reflected in economists? model of ?information search,? which can be fruitfully contrasted with ?information browsing.? Information searches are designed to discover unknown knowns, whose value is calculable ex ante, such that this value justifies the cost of the search. In this model of human information acquisition, there is no primal or ?radical? ignorance that might prevent people from knowing which information to look for, (...)
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  6. L. L. Farrar (2003). In Praise of Ignorance. Critical Review 15 (3-4):339-346.
    Abstract Ignorance is essential to life as we know it. Foreknowledge of the future would preclude choice, responsibility, individuality?even history. True knowledge of the past would obviate historiography. Without human ignorance of God's larger plan, His omnipotence and benevolence would not make sense, given the evils of the world. Full knowledge is the enemy of both intimate and impersonal relationships; for that matter, even less important personal decisions are made in ignorance. Military strategy and natural science both depend on ignorance, (...)
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  7. Mark Fenster (2007). On Idiocratic Theory: Rejoinder to Wisniewski. Critical Review 19 (1):147-155.
    ABSTRACT One of Murray Edelman?s most important insights was that understanding public ignorance about politics and policy requires an analysis of how symbolic communication and popular culture shape public knowledge and opinion. Approaches that simply dismiss the public as ignorant or idiotic make a similar error as those that simply embrace the modern public as capable of engaging in the work of a competent demos, insofar as both simplify complex social and cultural processes of meaning?making and comprehension. The problem for (...)
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  8. Mark Fenster (2005). Murray Edelman, Polemicist of Public Ignorance. Critical Review 17 (3-4):367-391.
    Abstract Murray Edelman's work raised significant theoretical and methodological questions regarding the symbolic nature of politics, and specifically the role played by non?rational beliefs (those that lack real?world grounding) in the shaping of political preferences. According to Edelman, beneath an apparently functional and accountable democratic state lies a symbolic system that renders an ignorant public quiescent. The state, the media, civil society, interpersonal relations, even popular art are part of a mass spectacle kept afloat by empty symbolic beliefs. However (...)
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  9. Adam Fforde (2011). Policy Recommendations as Spurious Predictions: Toward a Theory of Economists' Ignorance. Critical Review 23 (1-2):105-115.
    Lao Tzu and Marx together provide the basis of an epistemology based on ignorance?not on knowledge. The failure of an epistemology based on knowledge is shown by the internal inconsistencies afflicting mainstream economics: Economic theory predicts certain empirical phenomena but these fail to reveal themselves. In fact, the strongest research finding in development economics is that there are almost no robust empirical relationships between an implemented policy and its desired outcomes in the real world. A theory of ignorance can highlight (...)
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  10. Jeffrey Friedman (2009). A Crisis of Politics, Not Economics: Complexity, Ignorance, and Policy Failure. Critical Review 21 (2-3):127-183.
    ABSTRACT The financial crisis was caused by the complex, constantly growing web of regulations designed to constrain and redirect modern capitalism. This complexity made investors, bankers, and perhaps regulators themselves ignorant of regulations promulgated across decades and in different ?fields? of regulation. These regulations interacted with each other to foster the issuance and securitization of subprime mortgages; their rating as AA or AAA; and previously their concentration on the balance sheets (and off the balance sheets) of many commercial and investment (...)
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  11. Jeffrey Friedman (2007). Ignorance as a Starting Point: From Modest Epistemology to Realistic Political Theory. Critical Review 19 (1):1-22.
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  12. Axel Gelfert (2011). Who is an Epistemic Peer? Logos and Episteme 2 (4):507-514.
    Contemporary epistemology of peer disagreement has largely focused on our immediate normative response to prima facie instances of disagreement. Whereas some philosophers demand that we should withhold judgment (or moderate our credences) in such cases, others argue that, unless new evidence becomes available, disagreement at best gives us reason to demote our interlocutor from his peer status. But what makes someone an epistemic peer in the first place? This question has not received the attention it deserves. I begin by surveying (...)
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  13. Alvin I. Goldman & Erik J. Olsson (2009). ``Reliabilism and the Value of Knowledge&Quot. In A. Haddock, A. Millar & D. H. Pritchard (eds.), Epistemic Value. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 19--41.
    It is a widely accepted doctrine in epistemology that knowledge has greater value than mere true belief. But although epistemologists regularly pay homage to this doctrine, evidence for it is shaky. Is it based on evidence that ordinary people on the street make evaluative comparisons of knowledge and true belief, and consistently rate the former ahead of the latter? Do they reveal such a preference by some sort of persistent choice behavior? Neither of these scenarios is observed. Rather, epistemologists come (...)
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  14. Russell Hardin (2006). Ignorant Democracy. Critical Review 18 (1-3):179-195.
    The paradox of mass voting is not, generally speaking, matched by a paradoxical mass attempt to be politically well informed. As Converse underscored, most people are grossly politically ignorant?just as they would be if, as rational?ignorance theory holds, they realized that their votes don't matter. Yet many millions of them contradict the theory by voting. This contradiction, and the illogical reasons people offer for voting, suggest that the logic of collective action does not come naturally to people (as teachers of (...)
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  15. Vincent F. Hendricks (2010). Knowledge Transmissibility and Pluralistic Ignorance: A First Stab. Metaphilosophy 41 (3):279-291.
    Abstract: Pluralistic ignorance is a nasty informational phenomenon widely studied in social psychology and theoretical economics. It revolves around conditions under which it is "legitimate" for everyone to remain ignorant. In formal epistemology there is enough machinery to model and resolve situations in which pluralistic ignorance may arise. Here is a simple first stab at recovering from pluralistic ignorance by means of knowledge transmissibility.
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  16. Greg Hill (2006). Knowledge, Ignorance, and the Limits of the Price System: Reply to Friedman. Critical Review 18 (4):399-410.
    In ?Popper, Weber, and Hayek: The Epistemology and Politics of Ignorance,? Jeffrey Friedman argues that markets are superior to democratic institutions because the price system doesn't require people to make the kind of difficult counterfactual judgments that are necessary in order to evaluate public?policy alternatives. I contend that real?world markets require us to make all kinds of difficult counterfactual judgments, that the nature of these judgments limits the effectiveness of the price system in coordinating our activities, and that the market (...)
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  17. Greg Hill (2004). From Hayek to Keynes: G.L.S. Shackle and Ignorance of the Future. Critical Review 16 (1):53-79.
    Abstract G.L.S. Shackle stood at the historic crossroads where the economics of Hayek and Keynes met. Shackle fused these opposing lines of thought in a macroeconomic theory that draws Keynesian conclusions from Austrian premises. In Shackle's scheme of thought, the power to imagine alternative courses of action releases decision makers from the web of predictable causation. But the spontaneous and unpredictable choices that originate in the subjective and disparate orientations of individual agents deny us the possibility of (...)
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  18. Pierre Le Morvan (2012). On Ignorance: A Vindication of the Standard View. Philosophia 40 (2):379-393.
    Rik Peels has once again forcefully argued that ignorance is not equivalent to the lack or absence of knowledge. In doing so, he endeavors to refute the Standard View of Ignorance according to which they are equivalent, and to advance what he calls the “New View” according to which ignorance is equivalent (merely) to the lack or absence of true belief. I defend the Standard View against his new attempted refutation.
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  19. Pierre le Morvan (2011). Knowledge, Ignorance and True Belief. Theoria 77 (1):32-41.
    Suppose that knowledge and ignorance are complements in the sense of being mutually exclusive: for person S and fact p, either S knows that p or is ignorant that p. Understood in this way, ignorance amounts to a lack or absence of knowledge: S is ignorant that p if and only if it is not the case that S knows that p. Let us call the thesis that knowledge and ignorance are opposites the “Complement Thesis”. In this article, I discuss (...)
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  20. David Matheson (2013). A Duty of Ignorance. Episteme 10 (2):193-205.
    Conjoined with the claim that there is a moral right to privacy, each of the major contemporary accounts of privacy implies a duty of ignorance for those against whom the right is held. In this paper I consider and respond to a compelling argument that challenges these accounts (or the claim about a right to privacy) in the light of this implication. A crucial premise of the argument is that we cannot ever be morally obligated to become ignorant of information (...)
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  21. John Norton (2008). Ignorance and Indifference. Philosophy of Science 75 (1):45-68.
    The epistemic state of complete ignorance is not a probability distribution. In it, we assign the same, unique, ignorance degree of belief to any contingent outcome and each of its contingent, disjunctive parts. That this is the appropriate way to represent complete ignorance is established by two instruments, each individually strong enough to identify this state. They are the principle of indifference (PI) and the notion that ignorance is invariant under certain redescriptions of the outcome space, here developed into the (...)
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  22. Rik Peels (2012). The New View on Ignorance Undefeated. Philosophia 40 (4):741-750.
    In this paper, I provide a defence of the New View, on which ignorance is lack of true belief rather than lack of knowledge. Pierre Le Morvan has argued that the New View is untenable, partly because it fails to take into account the distinction between propositional and factive ignorance. I argue that propositional ignorance is just a subspecies of factive ignorance and that all the work that needs to be done can be done by using the concept of factive (...)
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  23. Rik Peels (2011). Ignorance is Lack of True Belief: A Rejoinder to Le Morvan. Philosophia 39 (2):345-355.
    In this paper, I respond to Pierre Le Morvan’s critique of my thesis that ignorance is lack of true belief rather than absence of knowledge. I argue that the distinction between dispositional and non-dispositional accounts of belief, as I made it in a previous paper, is correct as it stands. Also, I criticize the viability and the importance of Le Morvan’s distinction between propositional and factive ignorance. Finally, I provide two arguments in favor of the thesis that ignorance is lack (...)
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  24. Rik Peels (2011). Tracing Culpable Ignorance. Logos and Episteme 2 (4):575-582.
    In this paper, I respond to the following argument which several authors have presented. If we are culpable for some action, we act either from akrasia or from culpable ignorance. However, akrasia is highly exceptional and it turns out that tracing culpable ignorance leads to a vicious regress. Hence, we are hardly ever culpable for our actions. I argue that the argument fails. Cases of akrasia may not be that rare when it comes to epistemic activities such as evidence gathering (...)
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  25. Rik Peels (2010). What is Ignorance? Philosophia 38 (1):57-67.
    This article offers an analysis of ignorance. After a couple of preliminary remarks, I endeavor to show that, contrary to what one might expect and to what nearly all philosophers assume, being ignorant is not equivalent to failing to know, at least not on one of the stronger senses of knowledge. Subsequently, I offer two definitions of ignorance and argue that one’s definition of ignorance crucially depends on one’s account of belief. Finally, I illustrate the relevance of my analysis by (...)
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  26. Carlo Proietti & Erik J. Olsson (2014). A DDL Approach to Pluralistic Ignorance and Collective Belief. Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (2-3):499-515.
    A group is in a state of pluralistic ignorance (PI) if, roughly speaking, every member of the group thinks that his or her belief or desire is different from the beliefs or desires of the other members of the group. PI has been invoked to explain many otherwise puzzling phenomena in social psychology. The main purpose of this article is to shed light on the nature of PI states – their structure, internal consistency and opacity – using the formal apparatus (...)
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  27. Nicholas Rescher (2009). Ignorance: (On the Wider Implications of Deficient Knowledge). University of Pittsburgh Press.
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  28. Peter Rickman (2005). The Epistemology of Ignorance. Philosophy Now 51:28-29.
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  29. Holly Smith (2011). Non-Tracing Cases of Culpable Ignorance. Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (2):115-146.
    Recent writers on negligence and culpable ignorance have argued that there are two kinds of culpable ignorance: tracing cases, in which the agent’s ignorance traces back to some culpable act or omission of hers in the past that led to the current act, which therefore arguably inherits the culpability of that earlier failure; and non-tracing cases, in which there is no such earlier failure, so the agent’s current state of ignorance must be culpable in its own right. An unusual but (...)
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  30. Holly Smith (1983). Culpable Ignorance. Philosophical Review 92 (4):543-571.
  31. Cynthia Townley (2011). A Defense of Ignorance: Its Value for Knowers and Roles in Feminist and Social Epistemologies. Lexington Books.
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