Ignorance Studies and their Relevance for Science Studies and Society
Introduction to the Lunch Lecture series "Ignorance - what we don't know" by FRIAS Director Bernd Kortmann and Veronika Lipphardt (University College Freiburg).
This lunch lecture series leads us to the frontiers of research, its greatest challenge and, some may say, its greatest enemy: what it is that we don't know, and that maybe we will never know! Or: that we don't know yet! Or: that we don't even know yet that we don't know! Or: that we don't want, or should not want, to know! Or: that we are not supposed to know! And in the latter case: who then is it who doesn't want us (academics, ultimately society) to know?
From the different perspectives of a highly diverse set of academic disciplines and research cultures, FRIAS Fellows will address these and other questions relevant for shedding light on ignorance — including its epistemology (which involves issues like its conditions and variation), ethics (which involves issues like self-censorship), politics (which involves issues like agenda setting or censorship), economics (which involves issues like the campaigning power of large companies or sectors of industry), or sociology (which involves issues like the (lacking) impact of science on society and the question what kind of knowledge society wants to share, or see produced, and which rather not). The lecture series will also build on recent research in the fields of „ignorance studies“ and „agnotology“, which tackles the production of ignorance, for example ignorance about the dangers of climate change, smoking, nuclear power, fracking, or sugar in soft drinks. Ignorance is nothing to be ignored! It has many fascinating dimensions, as we shall see and explore, in science as much as in society.