Download e-book for iPad: Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance by Robert N. Proctor

By Robert N. Proctor

ISBN-10: 080475652X

ISBN-13: 9780804756525

ISBN-10: 9780804757

ISBN-13: 9789780804756

What do not we all know, and why do not we all know it? What retains lack of awareness alive, or permits it for use as a political device? Agnotology—the examine of ignorance—provides a brand new theoretical standpoint to develop conventional questions on ''how we know'' to invite: Why do not we all know what we do not be aware of? The essays assembled in Agnotology convey that lack of understanding is frequently greater than simply a scarcity of information; it might probably even be the result of cultural and political struggles. lack of information has a background and a political geography, yet there also are issues humans don't desire you to understand (''Doubt is our product'' is the tobacco slogan). person chapters deal with examples from the nation-states of world weather swap, army secrecy, lady orgasm, environmental denialism, local American paleontology, theoretical archaeology, racial lack of knowledge, and extra. The aim of this quantity is to raised know the way and why quite a few varieties of understanding don't become, or have disappeared, or became invisible.

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Extra info for Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance

Example text

O n e c a n trace the history of secrecy back to the ancient Babylonians through medieval l o n g b o w s and fin-de-siècle invisible ink, f r o m tightly guarded f o r m u l a e for Venetian g l a s s m a k i n g to the hidden p o u c h e s of diplomatic couriers. Trade, state, and military secrets are all part of the b a c k g r o u n d to the m o d e r n system. But this m o d e r n secrecy system has its substantive start not in antiquity, but in the vast infrastructure of W o r l d War II.

6 In 1 9 9 5 , the N a t i o n a l Research C o u n c i l w o r k i n g w i t h the D e p a r t m e n t of Energy ( D O E ) estimated that the D O E ' s born and adolescent classified documents numbered some 280 million p a g e s — a n a m o u n t that w o u l d take its current complement of reviewers 9,000 years to review—if, against reality, not a line of n e w material were a d d e d . H o w e v e r incomplete it is 7 now, this nine-millennium stack is ten times larger than the previous esti­ mate given a few years earlier.

In the last few years, the rate of classification increased fivefold, w i t h no end in sight. Secret information is a c c u m u l a t i n g , at a rate that itself is accelerating, far quicker than it is being declassified. THE C L A S S I F I E D T H E O R Y OF K N O W L E D G E W i t h such a vast reservoir of learning under w r a p s , the D O E must h a v e — i f not explicitly then at least i m p l i c i t l y — s o m e sense of w h a t can and c a n n o t be released. W h a t , we m a y ask, is the theory of interdicting k n o w l e d g e ?

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Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance by Robert N. Proctor


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