The 9 types of ignorance and their characteristics

Despite the fact that the word ignorance is generally meant as a negative or pejorative term since no one would like to be considered ignorant, the truth is that we are all ignorant of something. Also, as we will see later in this article, there are several types of ignorance.

The following types of ignorance can be found: excusable, presumptuous, inevitable, rational, culpable, conjectural, expensive, pluralistic, and finally learned ignorance.

In this article we will see the types of ignorance and their most characteristic aspects.

    What is ignorance?

    The word ignorance, (from the verb “to ignore”, from the Latin ignorare, “not to know”; negative derivative of the root gnō- from (g)noscere, “to know”), is a concept widely used to designate lack of knowledge, knowledge or even experiencebeing a commonly used term in different fields (e.g. pedagogical, philosophical, legal, etc.).

    According to the Dictionary of the Real Spanish Academy (RAE), the word ignorance has the following meanings:

    • Quality of ignorant.
    • A lack of knowledge.

    In addition, the RAE also includes the definition of different types of ignorance depending on the field to which it refers. These definitions would be the ones that we will briefly comment on below.

    On the one hand, “invincible ignorance”. This concept is used to talk about the ignorance that a person has of something, to have no reason or reason to be suspicious of it.

    On the other hand, “ignorance of the law”which is used to denote ignorance of the law, although this does not excuse anyone due to the presumption or legal fiction that, having been enacted, everyone must know it.

    Finally, we meet “reclining ignorance”, that resulting from neglect to inquire or attend to what can and should be known; that is, it would be an ignorance of what can and should be known, so that it could be seen as the extreme inability to understand a certain problem.

      The different types of ignorance

      Ignorance could be considered a fundamental fact that serves as a starting point for us to realize that we are not perfect and that no matter how hard we try to learn and try to acquire new knowledge throughout our lives, there will always be many things that elude our knowledge.

      Therefore, we should not be ashamed of the fact that we have no knowledge on various subjects because it is something that happens to everyone and perhaps it is wiser to acknowledge our ignorance and assume our doubts than try to hide it. In this type of situation, it can be more useful for us to affirm our lack of knowledge and thus open a new door to new learning that could be brought by another person who has more knowledge in this regard.

      We will then see what are the different types of ignorance that can be found in human beings. This classification could serve to show that no one has absolute knowledge of everything, since we are all ignorant of various subjects, nor and there is no one who is completely ignorantof the fact that we have all acquired knowledge in certain fields or in relation to certain subjects.

      1. Excuse ignorance

      The first of the types of ignorance that we are going to talk about would be excusable ignorance, an ignorance that occurs involuntarily and with total ignorance, or even without capacity, since the person who has this type of ignorance with regard to a topic or question he is not aware of it.

        2. Presumptuous ignorance

        Another of the most common types of ignorance is what is called presumptuous ignorance, a concept that refers to cases in which a person assumes knowledge of something they do not know; in other words, it would be the attitude of denying the possibility of knowing something in areas where its methodology is epistemologically unacceptable.

        3. Guilty ignorance

        In this case, we would speak of one of the types of ignorance resulting from self-deceptiona means of avoiding certain responsibilities which might be morally inadmissible in certain circumstances and that, by referring to culpable ignorance, we would fundamentally be dealing with a moral question of great relevance.

        4. Rational Ignorance

        Rational ignorance would be another of the main types of ignorance and refers to the acceptance of ignorance, in cases where it is eminently rational. Therefore, before this type of case and in certain circumstances, this type of ignorance is covered with the veil of indifference.

        An example of rational ignorance would be the following: “I consider myself ignorant on subjects of various subjects such as physics or artificial intelligence, since what I studied was not related to these subjects”.

          5. Learned Ignorance

          This type of ignorance refers to the fact that if a person managed to know his own capacity for ignorance, he would therefore be more knowledgeable, so that knowledge would consist of some comparison between what is familiar or familiar and what is unfamiliar to that person.

          Therefore, we could say that it would be one of the types of ignorance that would refer more to an intellectual disposition than to a group or body of knowledge and that is why learned ignorance is observed as this disposition or ability to recognize the limits of all rational knowledge.

          6. Conjectural Ignorance

          When we speak of conjectural ignorance, we refer to this set of formulations, hypotheses or conjectures about reality which will then be subjected to the test of probable falsificationwhich is this experimental procedure that could end up disproving our initial idea.

          In this sense, it could be said that the solutions we provide to a particular problem or situation are really mere provisional conjectures that could end up being challenged and even replaced by other alternative solutions, leaving the possibility that others solutions are more conducive

            7. The inevitable ignorance

            A very curious phenomenon which generally occurs is that, as A person has increased their knowledge over time and above all, concerning an area related to his centers of interest or his profession, his astonishment in the face of the unknown generally becomes greater. Moreover, it could cause this person to tend to take refuge in the realm of learned ignorance, thus coming to recognize their own capacities and limits.

            And it is that the specialization in a profession and/or in certain fields or areas of knowledge, since it requires a lot of effort and a lot of time of dedication, can lead to an increase or at least the maintenance of ignorance or ignorance in other areas or fields.

            8. Dear Ignorance

            Dear ignorance would be another of the most talked about types of ignorance, and that is why we have decided to include it in this classification. This type of ignorance is related to the fact that there are things that we do not know mainly because There are some things we’d rather not know or not having proof of something.

            This is what generally happens with very sad, unpleasant or disturbing subjects; having considered that there is no point in worrying about it because we are aware that we are not going to be able to solve them and by knowing more details or receiving more information about it, we believe that we will not succeed only to be more concerned.

            9. Pluralist Ignorance

            Finally, among the different types of ignorance, we want to include pluralistic ignorance, a process that has been widely studied in the field of social psychology due to the fact that it usually involves a set or a group of people (for example example, members of an association, a group of colleagues, a group of students, etc.).

            Pluralist ignorance is common within a set or group of people, each of them thinks that the others have more information than they do on a situation or a problem and, therefore, they also have it in the face of a doubtful or uncertain event. For this reason, each of these people is dedicated to observing the behavior of others in order to make an analysis and interpretation as correct as possible without realizing that it is possible that others are not sure either that they are doing the right thing or not.

            This is why everyone in the group might get carried away by what the others are doing. This process can also often lead to inaction when solving certain problems and could also lead to a decrease in the productivity of a group of people working as a group.

            Bibliographic references

            • Ferrater, J. (1984). Dictionary of Philosophy. Madrid: Editorial of Alianza.
            • Francoise, RD (2008). Akal Psychology Dictionary. Madrid: Ediciones Akal.
            • Garzon, E. (1999). Some thoughts on ignorance. Isonomie Journal of Theory and Philosophy of Law, 11, pp. 129-148.
            • Garzon, E. (2001). Philosophy, politics, law. Valencia: University of Valencia.
            • OnlineGoldberg, E. (2002). The executive brain. Barcelona: editorial criticism.
            • Royal Spanish Academy (2014). Dictionary of the Spanish language: 23rd edition (tercentenary edition). Barcelona: Espasa Libros.
            • Segura, S. (2013). New Latin-Spanish Etymological Dictionary and Derivative Words: 5th Edition. Bilbao: University of Deusto.
            • Vilajosana, JM (2007). Between knowledge and ignorance. DOXA, Cuadernos de Filosofía del Derecho, 30, pp. 217-221.

            Leave a Comment