The anatomy of ignorance

Diagnoses from literature

Authored by: Devjani Roy , Richard Zeckhauser

Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415718967
eBook ISBN: 9781315867762
Adobe ISBN: 9781317964674


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Ignorance represents a situation in which some potential outcomes are not even identified. Often they are both unknown and unknowable (Gomory, 1995; Zeckhauser, 2006). On a continuum that begins with risk and progresses through uncertainty, ignorance is the third, final, and most extreme state in the sequence. With risk and uncertainty, the possible future states of the world are known. With risk, their probabilities are known as well; with uncertainty, their probabilities are unknown. A roll of two dice involves risk; a prediction about the stock market a year hence involves uncertainty.

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