Ignorance , ignorance or disregard is characterized by the fact that a person does not want to know or does not pay attention to (disregard) something.
The word ignorance has been used in German since the 16th century and etymologically goes back to the Latin noun ignorantia "ignorance". The verb to ignore was borrowed from the Latin ignorare “do not know”, “do not want to know”, which is ablaut to ignarus (from in-gnarus ) “ignorant” and to gnarus “knowledgeable”. Furthermore, the words belong to the Latin word family of noscere "recognize, get to know". “Ignorance” or “ignore” means that a person is ignorant of a thing or that he intentionally does not want to deal with it.
Variations of terms
The verb ignore denotes both the conscious and the unconscious not to take notice of a fact, a process, a social development or a person. In use, the verb does not have a necessarily negative connotation . Even in the case of conscious ignorance, it is conceivable that the person who is ignorant has good and understandable reasons for it. For this - as an example - a quote from the novel The Visit of the Personal Physician by Per Olov Enquist :
“King Christian VII dressed in a gray cloak and believed that he would not be recognized that way; that two soldiers followed him at a distance, even now, he ignored. "
The term ignorant for a person who does not take note of something or who deliberately does not want to take note of it is a reproach in German language practice, so it has a negative connotation in contrast to the verb ignore . An ignoramus is someone who does not strive for knowledge, cognition and perception and therefore (intentionally) remains ignorant. The word can be considered a swear word or an insult .
In the case of rational ignorance , someone deliberately refrains from dealing with a topic and obliges someone else to deal with it. It is the renunciation of interfering in individual (political) business in a committee, because it is not possible for individuals to deal in depth with each business. Rational ignorance is a form of voluntary uncertainty, and consequently it is the opposite of certainty .
In Prussian law there was a so-called Ignorance Oath ( Jusjurandum ignorantiae ). In commercial and bill of exchange law in particular, it represented the affidavit of a person that they knew nothing of an alleged fact (see also oath ).
Ignorance is often used in German today as a reproach to a person who is assumed to be disinterested and ignorant to the point of stupidity . In contrast to tolerance , ignorance is also seen as the inability or unwillingness to express acceptance.
In an information society , the term ignorance gains a new meaning by comprehensively identifying the area of ignorance and contrasting it with the area of knowledge . This dissolves the previous view of the ignorance of individuals. The current development can go in the direction of a collective term. In this context , Hans Rott, philosopher at the University of Regensburg , distinguishes between two forms:
- Ignorance as a disposition : This is a general predisposition not to want to know possible knowledge.
- Ignorance as an episode : This form is limited in time and means particular occurrences of not knowing that something is the case .
In decision theory and economics , complete ignorance denotes a level of information of zero percent, while the opposite represents perfect information with an information level of 100%. Ignorance means that a decision maker is completely ignorant of his decision and therefore cannot make any decisions because he does not know the alternative courses of action.
- Achim Geisenhanslüke , Hans Rott (Ed.): Ignorance. Not knowing, forgetting and misunderstanding in processes of cultural transformation. Transcript, Bielefeld 2008, ISBN 978-3-89942-778-3 .
- Rainer Hammwöhner : Wikipedia - A medium of ignorance? In: Achim Geisenhanslüke, Hans Rott (Ed.): Ignorance. Not knowing, forgetting and misunderstanding in processes of cultural transformation. Transcript, Bielefeld 2008, pp. 229-257.
- Hans Rott: Disagreement and misunderstanding. In: Achim Geisenhanslüke, Hans Rott (Ed.): Ignorance. Not knowing, forgetting and misunderstanding in processes of cultural transformation. Transcript, Bielefeld 2008, pp. 61-96.
- Stephan Meier-Oeser: ignorance. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy . Vol. 11, Schwabe, Basel 2001, Col. 341–348 (PDF; 95 kB).
- Duden: The dictionary of origin. 4th edition, Mannheim 2007.
- Per Olov Enquist: The Personal Doctor's Visit. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2009, p. 119.
- Hans Rott: difference of opinion and misunderstanding. In: Achim Geisenhanslüke, Hans Rott (Ed.): Ignorance. Not knowing, forgetting and misunderstanding in processes of cultural transformation. Transcript, Bielefeld 2008, p. 61, footnote 2.