, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 483-484
Date: 28 Jun 2011

The limits of ignorance

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Over the past 50 years, Nicolas Rescher has written over one hundred books across an impressively wide area of philosophical topics, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophical logic, philosophy of science, metaphilosophy, ethics, socio-political philosophy and both ancient and modern history of philosophy. It is with considerable ease, then, that Rescher considers the broader implications of ignorance in this little book of applied epistemology.

The book itself divides into eight independent sections, each an interesting essay in its own right. The thread uniting the whole book is Rescher’s unabashed pragmatism that places him closer to Nassim Taleb than to his fellow academic philosophers (though Rescher ends the book with a surprisingly question-begging argument for why ‘ignorance betokens realism’). Like Taleb, Rescher holds that the chances of informed action and prediction can be seriously increased if we better comprehend the multiple causes of ignorance. The study of igno ...