Meaning of Ignorance

What is Ignorance:

Ignorance refers to the lack of knowledge or information, both at a general and a specific level. In this sense, a person can show ignorance about some particular matter or subject, or about a whole field of knowledge. The word, as such, comes from Latin ignorant, which means 'not knowing'.

Ignorance can have derogatory connotations, when it is pointed out to another person with the intention of disqualifying their statements or opinions on a certain topic. Even, in offensive terms, calling someone ignorant, rightly or wrongly, can be equivalent to calling them a donkey or an idiot.

On the other hand, ignorance about specific topics is a common issue for all people. Every learning process starts from an initial ignorance, so that, in this sense, we are all or have been actively ignorant on countless numbers of topics.

Ignorance also refers to the condition of those individuals who, as a result of not having received education or instruction of any kind, are largely unfamiliar with a large number of subjects. Hence, one of the main objectives of any government is to have an educational system effective enough to eradicate the population's ignorance and, in addition, to provide the basic tools for its acquisition, such as literacy.

Some synonyms for the word ignorance are ignorance, illiteracy, ignorance or ineptitude. While, among its antonyms, we can find wisdom, knowledge, culture, experience, skill, aptitude.

Ignorance in Philosophy

Philosophy can understand ignorance from a positive point of view, as a door to knowledge. In this sense, Plato says: "What little I know, I owe to my ignorance." However, Plato also writes, and puts it in the mouth of Socrates, that "there is only one good, called knowledge, and only one evil, called ignorance", referring to those who insist on remaining in an attitude of ignorance with respect to to the knowledge of the things of the world. Aristotle, for his part, pointed out that "the ignorant affirms, while the wise doubt and reflect." Hence the expression learned ignorant to allude to the prudent attitude of the sage, who is aware of the natural limitations of knowledge in the face of the magnitude of the issues of the universe.

Ignorance of the Law

Ignorance of the law is called ignorance of the law by an individual. As such, ignorance of the Law is an inappropriate argument to justify non-compliance with the laws, since the State is based on the presumption that, once the laws are promulgated, they must be known to all citizens.

Supine ignorance

As supine ignorance is called the type of ignorance related to basic matters of life. In this sense, it is said that supine ignorance derives from the negligence of a person in learning or acquiring the essential knowledge of what he should or could know. An example of supine ignorance would be that of a nurse who does not know how to inject, because, according to her profession, it is her duty to have learned how to do it.

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