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    Ignorance: On the Wider Implications of Deficient Knowledge (Paperback) By (author) Nicholas Rescher

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    DescriptionHistorically, there has been great deliberation about the limits of human knowledge. Isaac Newton, recognizing his own shortcomings, once described himself as 'a boy standing on the seashore...whilst the great ocean of truth lay all underscored before me'. In "Ignorance", Nicholas Rescher presents a broad-ranging study that examines the manifestations, consequences, and occasional benefits of ignorance in areas of philosophy, scientific endeavor, and ordinary life. Citing philosophers, theologians, and scientists from Socrates to Steven Hawking, Rescher seeks to uncover the factors that hinder our cognition. Rescher categorizes ignorance as ontologically grounded (rooted in acts of nature - erasure, chaos, and chance - that prevent fact determination), or epistemically grounded (the inadequacy of our information-securing resources). He then defines the basis of ignorance; inaccessible data; statistical fogs; secreted information; past data that have left no trace; future discoveries; future contingencies; vagrant predicates; and, superior intelligences. Such impediments set limits to inquiry and mean that while we can always extend our existing knowledge - variability here is infinite - there are things that we will never know. Cognitive finitude also hinders our ability to assimilate more than a certain number of facts. We may acquire additional information, but lack the facility to interpret it. More information does not always increase knowledge; it may point us further down the path toward an erroneous conclusion. In light of these deficiencies, Rescher looks to the role of computers in solving problems and expanding our knowledge base, but finds limits to their reasoning capacity. As Rescher's comprehensive study concludes, ignorance itself is a fertile topic for knowledge, and recognizing the boundaries of our comprehension is where wisdom begins.


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  • Full bibliographic data for Ignorance

    Title
    Ignorance
    Subtitle
    On the Wider Implications of Deficient Knowledge
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Nicholas Rescher
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 160
    Width: 140 mm
    Height: 208 mm
    Thickness: 15 mm
    Weight: 181 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780822960140
    ISBN 10: 0822960141
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: PHI
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: S2.1
    B&T Book Type: NF
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    BISAC V2.8: PHI004000
    BIC subject category V2: HP
    LC subject heading:
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 02
    B&T General Subject: 610
    Ingram Subject Code: PH
    Libri: I-PH
    LC subject heading:
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25200
    Abridged Dewey: 121
    LC subject heading:
    DC22: 121
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    LC subject heading: ,
    BISAC V2.8: PHI015000
    LC classification: BD221 .R47 2009
    Thema V1.0: QD
    Publisher
    University of Pittsburgh Press
    Imprint name
    University of Pittsburgh Press
    Publication date
    28 February 2009
    Publication City/Country
    Pittsburgh PA
    Author Information
    NICHOLAS RESCHER is University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is also chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science. He has served as president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, the Leibniz Society of North America, the Charles S. Peirce Society, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the Metaphysical Society of America. Author of nearly one hundred books ranging over many areas of philosophy, he was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Prize for Humanistic Scholarship in 1984, the Belgian Prix Mercier in 2005, and the Aquinas Medal from the American Catholic Philosophical Association in 2007.
    Review quote
    "The cumulative effect of Rescher's examination is the conclusion that our understanding of ignorance may be more important in a practical sense than our efforts to understand or define knowledge. The many reasons that lead Rescher and us to that conclusion are ultimately pragmatic, reaffirming once again that he is our most important living pragmatist. This is a must-read for anyone interested in escaping from the standard contemporary approaches to epistemology." --Joseph C. Pitt, Virginia Tech