Chapter

An Argument for Universal Ignorance

Peter Unger

in Ignorance

Published in print January 1978 | ISBN: 9780198244172
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191711473 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198244177.003.0004

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

 An Argument for Universal Ignorance

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An argument for universal ignorance is defended, ruling out even the Cartesian knowledge that “I exist now.” This argument involves normative premises: if someone knows something to be so, then it is at least all right for the person to be absolutely certain that it is so. But, on pain of dogmatism, it is never even all right for anyone to be absolutely certain that anything is so. Therefore, nobody ever knows that anything is so. This result is supported by the analysis of “S knows that p” as “it is clear to S that p”.

Keywords: analysis; certainty; clarity; dogmatism; knowledge; normativity; universal ignorance

Chapter.  25663 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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