Humankind and the environment: an anatomy of surprise and ignorance
This paper addresses the problem of 'ignorance' in philosophy and science, particularly with respect to the conceptualization, study and solution of environmental problems. We begin by distinguishing between 'risk', 'uncertainty' and 'ignorance'. We then offer a categorization of ignorance, and use these categories to assess the role of science as a means of reducing ignorance. We note that to proceed with science, several 'acts of faith' are necessary. We conclude with a discussion of the importance of an attitude of openness in science and philosophy, especially regarding environmental problems. Throughout, we illustrate our discussion of ignorance, and the problems involved in its reduction, by reference to environmental issues.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev1:ev114. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Andrew Johnson)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.