When knowledge is responsibility and ignorance freedom
in Knowledge resistance
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This chapter looks at two additional sides of knowledge, sides that partly fall within ‘strategic ignorance’. The first is to resist knowledge when it carries with it a moral and social responsibility. This includes knowledge about genetically carried diseases of ourselves or others, or practical information on how we could do more to reduce the suffering of others, for instance in the developing world. The second side is to resist knowledge when ignorance opens up opportunities that would have been difficult if you knew ‘too much’. Convincing others – and yourself – that you are ignorant about specific occurrences can in some cases be of great value. These include certain innovative environments and even scientific fields where ‘fresh thinkers’ and ‘blank slates’ may sometimes be seen as increasing the chances of thinking outside the box. The chapter also shows three different ways of ignoring knowledge strategically, often in organisational settings: deny, dismiss, and divert. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion about how to assess and distinguish harmful versus beneficial knowledge resistance.

Knowledge resistance

How we avoid insight from others


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