We don’t know we don’t know: asserting ignorance

Synthese:1-16 (forthcoming)

Authors
Ciro De Florio
Università Cattolica di Milano
Daniele Chiffi
Politecnico di Milano
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Abstract
The pragmatic logic of assertions shows a connection between ignorance and decidability. In it, we can express pragmatic factual ignorance and first-order ignorance as well as some of their variants. We also show how some pragmatic versions of second-order ignorance and of Rumsfeld-ignorance may be formulated. A specific variant of second-order ignorance is particularly relevant. This indicates a strong pragmatic version of ignorance of ignorance, irreducible to any previous form of ignorance, which defines limits to what can justifiably be asserted about higher-order ignorance. Finally, we relate the justified assertion of second-order ignorance with scientific assertions.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02300-y
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