Southwest Philosophy Review 34 (1):49-57 (2018)

Deborah Heikes
University of Alabama, Huntsville
“Ignorance” is receiving an increased amount of philosophical attention. The study of it even has its own name, “agnotology.” Some ignorance remains simply a case of not having enough information, but increasingly philosophers are recognizing a whole other type of ignorance, one that is socially constructed and often actively promoted. In the first section of this paper I examine perhaps the best known type of socially constructed ignorance, “white ignorance.” White ignorance reflects a lack of genuine understanding of the social realities of others and it creates injustice. In the second section of the paper, I consider what it means to “genuinely understand,” arguing that when it comes to issues of justice those with epistemic power have a moral obligation to at least attempt to understand others’ social realities.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0897-2346
DOI 10.5840/swphilreview20183415
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