Logic List Mailing Archive

Agnotology: Ways of Producing, Preserving and Dealing with Ignorance

30 May - 1 June 2011
Bielefeld, Germany

Agnotology: Ways of Producing, Preserving, and Dealing with Ignorance
Date: May 30 - June 1, 2011
Location: ZiF, Bielefeld University
Organizers: Martin Carrier (Bielefeld) and Janet Kourany (Notre Dame)

Within the last 10 years historians of science such as Robert Proctor, Londa 
Schiebinger, Peter Galison, and Naomi Oreskes, have been promoting a new area 
of enquiry - Proctor calls it agnotology, the study of ignorance - which they 
suggest is of as much relevance to philosophers and social scientists and 
others as it is to historians. Indeed, the suggestion is that agnotology offers 
a new approach to the study of knowledge, an approach at least as complex and 
important as its more established sister, epistemology. The aim of this 
workshop is to map out this new ignorance-centered terrain in an effort to 
determine just what and where it might add to knowledge-centered terrains such 
as epistemology and philosophy of science and how valuable the additions might 
be. Topics will range over the naturalness and even inevitability of certain 
kinds of ignorance and the unnaturalness or deliberate production of other 
kinds - for example, on ignorance created through government secrecy and 
censorship, cultural prejudice, industry influence on scientific research, and 
so on - and the epistemological and societal implications of such ignorance. 
The ultimate goal is to make a significant contribution to this new kind of 

Speakers will include historians Norton Wise (UCLA), Naomi Oreskes (San Diego), 
Peter Galison (Harvard), and Robert Proctor (Stanford); sociologists Peter 
Weingart (Bielefeld) and Stefan Böschen (Augsburg); neurobiologist Stuart 
Firestein (Columbia); mathematician/philosopher of science Daniel Andler 
(Sorbonne); and philosophers Nancy Cartwright (LSE and San Diego), Philip 
Kitcher (Columbia), Pat Kitcher (Columbia), Hugh Lacey (Swarthmore and São 
Paulo), Kevin Elliott (South Carolina), Torsten Wilholt (Bielefeld), Martin 
Carrier (Bielefeld), and Janet Kourany (Notre Dame).

The program will also feature a screening of Peter Galison and Robb Moss's 
documentary film "Secrecy."