Chapter

What Is Ignorance? Plato on Presumed Knowledge, Wishful Thinking, and Not Understanding Your Own Thoughts

Katja Maria Vogt

in Belief and Truth

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199916818
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980291 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199916818.003.0002
What Is Ignorance? Plato on Presumed Knowledge, Wishful Thinking, and Not Understanding Your Own Thoughts

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The chapter takes its starting point from an under-explored passage in the Philebus. According to this passage, ignorance involves thinking of oneself as richer, more beautiful, and wiser than one really is. It is argued that Socratically blameworthy ignorance is Transferred Ignorance: a cognizer thinks of herself as good in some way—an expert on something, generally smart, a person of importance, etc.—and is thereby mislead into unfounded knowledge-claims about important questions. The chapter discusses the Apology, the ignorance of Ion in Plato's Ion, and the extract from the Philebus mentioned above. It offers distinctions between different kinds of ignorance and explores intuitions relevant to the Socratic proposal that doxa is a kind of ignorance.

Keywords: Ignorance; Apology; oracle; human wisdom; Ion; expertise; Philebus; self-knowledge

Chapter.  12502 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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