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Ignorance and Not Knowing Things

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Maken
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I suppose I have a few questions so I will delve right into it!

What is the difference, if any, between being ignorant and not knowing certain things?

If there is no noticeable difference, then is ignorance a metaphysical fact or a man-made error? Being that man cannot possibly be omniscient and learns through condensing knowledge through concept formation, is it right to call ignorance a vice? If one cannot possibly know everything, would that not make everyone ignorant of something at all times? It seems as if ignorance is a metaphysical fact given to everyone, as we cannot possibly NOT be ignorant about something.

This has been bugging me today and I think my error lies in my failure to differentiate between ignorance and not knowing everything.

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Since omniscience is impossible, "not knowing everything" isn't a particularly useful definition of ignorance. Generally, we call someone ignorant when his lack of knowledge becomes an obstacle to his ability to reason about a subject. For example, a non-physicist isn't necessarily ignorant for not knowing about relativity. He becomes ignorant when he tries to draw conclusions from his poor understanding of it.

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It can be used in that sense - e.g. "I'm ignorant of the chemical composition of asteroids," but when "ignorant" is used to describe a vice, it usually implies a failure to think clearly as the result of a lack of knowledge.

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(Maaken's quotes in bold/italics, to make it easier to read.)

What is the difference, if any, between being ignorant and not knowing certain things? [...] As far as I am concerned ignorance is literally just lacking knowledge about something.

Yes, basically. Ignorance means lack of knowledge or not knowing some thing.

If there is no noticeable difference, then is ignorance a metaphysical fact or a man-made error?

Metaphysical fact. It is within the nature of man that omniscience is denied to us. Error means some sort of mistake in reasoning made, so you can commit an error due to ignorance, but ignorance itself (lack of some information) is not necessarily an error.

Being that man cannot possibly be omniscient and learns through condensing knowledge through concept formation, is it right to call ignorance a vice?

No, ignorance is not a vice. Self-made ignorance (i.e. evasion) however, is the essence of vice according to rational morality.

If one cannot possibly know everything, would that not make everyone ignorant of something at all times? It seems as if ignorance is a metaphysical fact given to everyone, as we cannot possibly NOT be ignorant about something.

That's right.

Edited by 2046
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When ignorance on a particular matter is the result of prior choice not to know in a context where objectively one should have chosen to know, then it is morally culpable. Evasion is the cause of a particular kind of ignorance.

Thanks everyone for the fast responses.

This is what I was looking for exactly :D

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When ignorance on a particular matter is the result of prior choice not to know in a context where objectively one should have chosen to know, then it is morally culpable. Evasion is the cause of a particular kind of ignorance.

This is well said.

I was going to say that "ignore" implies a choice not to know, or even to disregard. Not being aware of some particular knowledge, in the course of study, would be better identified as "unlearned".

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