In Praise of the Mere Presence of Ignorance


With regard to the theme “Reason in context,” the following stimulates a discussion on both Plato’s Socrates and the culpability of ignorance. By focusingon Plato’s Lysis, Alcibiades I, Philebus, and the Laws, I debunk the typical interpretation of Socratic moral intellectualism by evidencing that though there are various forms of ignorance in the Platonic dialogues, only one leads to shame-worthy error. Furthermore, in this endeavour to understand the “hierarchy” of ignorance in Plato, I take an unusual path and jump from Antiquity to the Renaissance by connecting Plato’s Socrates to Erasmus’s Folly. By comparing these characters I show how both only condemn double ignorance, i.e., ignorance of ignorance joined with the pretence to knowledge. Ultimately, by analyzing this particularly heinous form of ignorance, I question whether in all periods and circumstances feigned wisdom more than “mere ignorance” leads to shame and disrepute

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Danielle A. Layne
Gonzaga University

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Citations of this work

Involuntary Evil and the Socratic Problem of Double Ignorance in Proclus.Danielle A. Layne - 2015 - International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 9 (1):27-53.

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