Ignorance

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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  1. The Priority of the Epistemic.Parker Crutchfield & Scott Scheall - forthcoming - Episteme.
    Epistemic burdens – the nature and extent of our ignorance (that and how) with respect to various courses of action – serve to determine our incentive structures. Courses of action that seem to bear impossibly heavy epistemic burdens are typically not counted as options in an actor’s menu, while courses of action that seem to bear comparatively heavy epistemic burdens are systematically discounted in an actor’s menu relative to options that appear less epistemically burdensome. That ignorance serves to determine what (...)
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  2. Inscrutable Processes: Algorithms, Agency, and Divisions of Deliberative Labour.Marinus Ferreira - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    As the use of algorithmic decision‐making becomes more commonplace, so too does the worry that these algorithms are often inscrutable and our use of them is a threat to our agency. Since we do not understand why an inscrutable process recommends one option over another, we lose our ability to judge whether the guidance is appropriate and are vulnerable to being led astray. In response, I claim that a process being inscrutable does not automatically make its guidance inappropriate. This phenomenon (...)
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  3. Can Morally Ignorant Agents Care Enough?Daniel J. Miller - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations:1-19.
    Theorists attending to the epistemic condition on responsibility are divided over whether moral ignorance is ever exculpatory. While those who argue that reasonable expectation is required for blameworthiness often maintain that moral ignorance can excuse, theorists who embrace a quality of will approach to blameworthiness are not sanguine about the prospect of excuses among morally ignorant wrongdoers. Indeed, it is sometimes argued that moral ignorance always reflects insufficient care for what matters morally, and therefore that moral ignorance never excuses. Furthermore, (...)
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  4. Postcolonial and Decolonial Feminisms.Elena Ruíz - forthcoming - In The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Philosophy.
    In recent years postcolonial and decolonial feminisms have become increasingly salient in philosophy, yet they are often deployed as conceptual stand-ins for generalized feminist critiques of eurocentrism (without reference to the material contexts anti-colonial feminisms emanate from), or as a platform to re-center internal debates between dominant European theories/ists under the guise of being conceptually ‘decolonized’. By contrast, this article focuses on the specific contexts, issues and lifeworld concerns that ground anti-colonial feminisms and provides a brief survey of the literature. (...)
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  5. A Case Study in the Problem of Policymaker Ignorance: Political Responses to COVID-19.Scott Scheall & Parker Crutchfield - forthcoming - Cosmos + Taxis.
    We apply the analysis that we have developed over the course of several publications on the significance of ignorance for decision-making, especially in surrogate (and, thus, in political) contexts, to political decision-making, such as it has been, during the COVID-19 pandemic (see Scheall 2019; Crutchfield and Scheall 2019; Scheall and Crutchfield 2020; Scheall 2020). Policy responses to the coronavirus constitute a case study of the problem of policymaker ignorance. We argue that political responses to the virus cannot be explained by (...)
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  6. Concomitant Ignorance Excuses From Moral Responsibility.Robert J. Hartman - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (1):58-65.
    Some philosophers contend that concomitant ignorance preserves moral responsibility for wrongdoing. An agent is concomitantly ignorant with respect to wrongdoing if and only if her ignorance is non-culpable, but she would freely have performed the same action if she were not ignorant. I, however, argue that concomitant ignorance excuses. I show that leading accounts of moral responsibility imply that concomitant ignorance excuses, and I debunk the view that concomitant ignorance preserves moral responsibility.
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  7. Lucky Ignorance, Modality and Lack of Knowledge.Oscar A. Piedrahita - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    I argue against the Standard View of ignorance, according to which ignorance is defined as equivalent to lack of knowledge, that cases of environmental epistemic luck, though entailing lack of knowledge, do not necessarily entail ignorance. In support of my argument, I contend that in cases of environmental luck an agent retains what I call epistemic access to the relevant fact by successfully exercising her epistemic agency and that ignorance and non-ignorance, contrary to what the Standard View predicts, are not (...)
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  8. Surprising Suspensions: The Epistemic Value of Being Ignorant.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Dissertation, Rutgers University - New Brunswick
    Knowledge is good, ignorance is bad. So it seems, anyway. But in this dissertation, I argue that some ignorance is epistemically valuable. Sometimes, we should suspend judgment even though by believing we would achieve knowledge. In this apology for ignorance (ignorance, that is, of a certain kind), I defend the following four theses: 1) Sometimes, we should continue inquiry in ignorance, even though we are in a position to know the answer, in order to achieve more than mere knowledge (e.g. (...)
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  9. Epistemic Burdens, Moral Intimacy, and Surrogate Decision Making.Parker Crutchfield & Scott Scheall - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (2):59-61.
    Berger (forthcoming) states that moral intimacy is important in applying the best interests standard. But what he calls moral intimacy requires that someone has overcome epistemic burdens needed to represent the patient. We argue elsewhere that good surrogate decision-making is first and foremost a matter of overcoming epistemic burdens, or those obstacles that stand in the way of a surrogate decision-maker knowing what a patient wants and how to satisfy those preferences. Berger’s notion of moral intimacy depends on epistemic intimacy: (...)
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  10. Awareness of Ignorance.İlhan İnan - 2020 - SATS 20 (2):141-173.
    Despite the recent increase in interest in philosophy about ignorance, little attention has been paid to the question of what makes it possible for a being to become aware of their own ignorance. In this paper, I try to provide such an account by arguing that, for a being to become aware of their own ignorance, they must have the mental capacity to represent something as being unknown to them. For normal adult humans who have mastered a language, mental representation (...)
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  11. Normative Ignorance: A Critical Connection Between the Insanity and Mistake of Law Defenses.Ken Levy - 2020 - Florida State University Law Review 47:411-443.
    This Article falls into three general parts. The first part starts with an important question: is the insanity defense constitutionally required? The United States Supreme Court will finally try to answer this question next term in the case of Kahler v. Kansas. -/- I say “finally” because the Court refused to answer this question in 2012 when it denied certiorari to an appeal brought by John Joseph Delling, a severely mentally ill defendant who was sentenced to life in prison three (...)
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  12. Friedman on Suspended Judgment.Michal Masny - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):5009-5026.
    In a recent series of papers, Jane Friedman argues that suspended judgment is a sui generis first-order attitude, with a question as its content. In this paper, I offer a critique of Friedman’s project. I begin by responding to her arguments against reductive higher-order propositional accounts of suspended judgment, and thus undercut the negative case for her own view. Further, I raise worries about the details of her positive account, and in particular about her claim that one suspends judgment about (...)
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  13. Sceptical Theism and the Paradox of Evil.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):319-333.
    Given plausible assumptions about the nature of evidence and undercutting defeat, many believe that the force of the evidential problem of evil depends on sceptical theism’s being false: if evil is...
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  14. Egoism and humanism.Andrej Poleev - 2020 - Enzymes 18.
    В противостоянии эгоизма и гуманизма лишь „возделывание души“ может предотвратить всеобщее падение в пропасть безумия и мракобесия.
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  15. “Many People Are Saying…”: Applying the Lessons of Naïve Skepticism to the Fight Against Fake News and Other “Total Bullshit”.Jake Wright - 2020 - Postdigital Science and Education 2 (1):113-131.
    ‘Fake news’ has become an increasingly common refrain in public discourse, though the term itself has several uses, at least one of which constitutes Frankfurtian bullshit. After examining what sorts of fake news appeals do and do not count as bullshit, I discuss strategies for overcoming our openness to such bullshit. I do so by drawing a parallel between openness to bullshit and naïve skepticism—one’s willingness to reject the concept of truth on unsupported or ill-considered grounds—and suggest that this parallel (...)
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  16. Suspending is Believing.Thomas Raleigh - 2019 - Synthese (3):1-26.
    A good account of the agnostic attitude of Suspending Judgement should explain how it can be rendered more or less rational/justified according to the state of one's evidence – and one's relation to that evidence. I argue that the attitude of suspending judgement whether p constitutively involves having a belief; roughly, a belief that one cannot yet tell whether or not p. I show that a theory of suspending that treats it as a sui generis attitude, wholly distinct from belief, (...)
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  17. Credences and Suspended Judgments as Transitional Attitudes.Julia Staffel - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):281-294.
    In this paper, I highlight an interesting difference between belief on the one hand, and suspended judgment and credence on the other hand. This difference is the following: credences and suspended judgments are suitable to serve as transitional as well as terminal attitudes in our reasoning, whereas beliefs are only appropriate as terminal attitudes. The notion of a transitional attitude is not an established one in the literature, but I argue that introducing it helps us better understand the different roles (...)
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  18. Culpable Ignorance in a Collective Setting.Säde Hormio - 2018 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 94:7-34.
    This paper explores types of organisational ignorance and ways in which organisational practices can affect the knowledge we have about the causes and effects of our actions. I will argue that because knowledge and information are not evenly distributed within an organisation, sometimes organisational design alone can create individual ignorance. I will also show that sometimes the act that creates conditions for culpable ignorance takes place at the collective level. This suggests that quality of will of an agent is not (...)
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  19. Does Non-Moral Ignorance Exculpate? Situational Awareness and Attributions of Blame and Forgiveness.Alicia Kissinger-Knox, Patrick Aragon & Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (2):161-179.
    In this paper, we set out to test empirically an idea that many philosophers find intuitive, namely that non-moral ignorance can exculpate. Many philosophers find it intuitive that moral agents are responsible only if they know the particular facts surrounding their action. Our results show that whether moral agents are aware of the facts surrounding their action does have an effect on people’s attributions of blame, regardless of the consequences or side effects of the agent’s actions. In general, it was (...)
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  20. Relativism Defended.Howard Darmstadter - 2016 - Cogent Arts and Humanities 3:1-11.
    I argue for a type of relativism that allows different people to have conflicting accurate representations of the world. This is contrary to the view of most Anglo-American philosophers, who would, with Paul Boghossian in Fear of Knowledge, deny that “there are many radically different, yet ‘equally valid’ ways of knowing the world.” My argument is not a metaphysical argument about the ultimate nature of the outside world, but a psychological argument about the mental processes of representation. The argument starts (...)
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  21. Beyond Rawls' Fiction: The Veil of Ignorance Is Real.Harold Anthony Lloyd - 2016 - Huffington Post.
    Brief thoughts on why Rawls' "fictional" veil of ignorance is in fact real and why social morals and self-interest thus converge.
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  22. Willful Ignorance and Self-Deception.Kevin Lynch - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):505-523.
    Willful ignorance is an important concept in criminal law and jurisprudence, though it has not received much discussion in philosophy. When it is mentioned, however, it is regularly assumed to be a kind of self-deception. In this article I will argue that self-deception and willful ignorance are distinct psychological kinds. First, some examples of willful ignorance are presented and discussed, and an analysis of the phenomenon is developed. Then it is shown that current theories of self-deception give no support to (...)
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  23. Forget and Forgive: A Practical Approach to Forgotten Evidence.Sinan Dogramaci - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2.
    We can make new progress on stalled debates in epistemology if we adopt a new practical approach, an approach concerned with the function served by epistemic evaluations. This paper illustrates how. I apply the practical approach to an important, unsolved problem: the problem of forgotten evidence. Section 1 describes the problem and why it is so challenging. Section 2 outlines and defends a general view about the function of epistemic evaluations. Section 3 then applies that view to solve the problem (...)
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  24. Meta-Epistemological Scepticism: Criticisms and a Defence.Chris Ranalli - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
    The epistemological problem of the external world asks: (1) “How is knowledge of the world possible given certain obstacles which make it look impossible?” This is a “how-possible?” question: it asks how something is possible given certain obstacles which make it look impossible (cf. Cassam 2007; Nozick 1981; Stroud 1984). Now consider the following question, which asks: (2) “How is a philosophically satisfying answer to (1) possible?” Scepticism is the thesis that knowledge of the world is impossible. It therefore represents (...)
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  25. On the Rationality of Pluralistic Ignorance.Jens Christian Bjerring, Jens Ulrik Hansen & Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen - 2014 - 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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  26. Pluralistic Ignorance in the Bystander Effect: Informational Dynamics of Unresponsive Witnesses in Situations Calling for Intervention.Rasmus Kraemmer Rendsvig - 2014 - Synthese 191 (11):2471-2498.
    The goal of the present paper is to construct a formal explication of the pluralistic ignorance explanation of the bystander effect. The social dynamics leading to inaction is presented, decomposed, and modeled using dynamic epistemic logic augmented with ‘transition rules’ able to characterize agent behavior. Three agent types are defined: First Responders who intervene given belief of accident; City Dwellers, capturing ‘apathetic urban residents’ and Hesitators, who observe others when in doubt, basing subsequent decision on social proof. It is shown (...)
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  27. Tracing Culpable Ignorance.Rik Peels - 2011 - 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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