Back to the Unknow: How Ignorance can be Useful (Matthias Groß)


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FRIAS Lunch Lecture Series 2018 “Ignorance – what we don’t know”

Back to the Unknown: How Ignorance can be Useful

Ignorance has traditionally been rendered a deficient state of being. However, the unknown is favored in science since scientists use well-defined ignorance to direct their research. With each problem solved unsolved problems and thus new horizons regarding the unknown become visible. Answers do not simply resolve questions, they provoke new ones. In an alleged post-truth world and an era of alternative facts, it seems important to analyze ever new unknowns in order to better understand why and when ignorance in the media, in everyday life, or in science and engineering may have certain effects towards decision making and the construction of “facts.” In this way, I will discuss some categories on how to analyze nonknowledge in order to raise awareness of its normality and to illuminate ignorance as regular rather than deviant. After all, it appears to be the ignorance of ignorance that is the biggest barrier to new knowledge.



Prof. Dr. Matthias Groß (Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ Leipzig)

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