Synthese 198 (8):7949-7963 (2020)

Authors
Duncan Pritchard
University of California, Irvine
Abstract
It is widely thought that education should aim at positive epistemic standings, like knowledge, insight, and understanding. In this paper, we argue that, surprisingly, in pursuit of this aim, it is sometimes necessary to also cultivate ignorance. We examine several types of case. First, in various circumstances educators should present students with defeaters for their knowledge, so that they come to lack knowledge, at least temporarily. Second, there is the phenomenon of ‘scaffolding’ in education, which we note might sometimes involve the educator quite properly ensuring that the student is ignorant of certain kinds of information. Third, if ignorance is lack of true belief, as a number of commentators have claimed, then in those cases in which students believe something truly without knowing it and teachers show that they lack knowledge, students may abandon that belief and thus become ignorant. In examining the role of ignorance in education, we explore exactly which kinds of ignorance are valuable in teaching situations and draw attention to important epistemic differences between ignorance on different levels.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02544-z
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References found in this work BETA

Evidentialism: Essays in Epistemology.Earl Brink Conee & Richard Feldman - 2004 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Wrong Kind of Reason.Pamela Hieronymi - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.
Why Suspend Judging?Jane Friedman - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):302-326.

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