Ignorance and awareness

Noûs 58 (1):225-243 (2024)
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Knowledge implies the presence of a positive relation between a person and a fact. Factual ignorance, on the other hand, implies the absence of some positive relation between a person and a fact. The two most influential views of ignorance hold that what is lacking in cases of factual ignorance is knowledge or true belief, but these accounts fail to explain a number of basic facts about ignorance. In their place, we propose a novel and systematic defense of the view that factual ignorance is the absence of awareness, an account that both comes apart from the dominant views and overcomes their deficiencies. Given the important role that ignorance plays in moral and legal theory and our understanding of various epistemic injustices, a precise and theoretically unproblematic account of the nature of ignorance is important not only for normative epistemology, but also for law, ethics, and applied epistemology.

Author Profiles

Paul Silva Jr.
University of Cologne
Wes Siscoe
University of Notre Dame


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