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

By Robert N. Proctor

ISBN-10: 080475652X

ISBN-13: 9780804756525

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 software? Agnotology—the examine of ignorance—provides a brand new theoretical standpoint to expand 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 exhibit that lack of knowledge is frequently greater than simply a lack of information; it may possibly even be the end result of cultural and political struggles. lack of know-how has a heritage 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 worldwide weather swap, army secrecy, lady orgasm, environmental denialism, local American paleontology, theoretical archaeology, racial lack of information, and extra. The target of this quantity is to raised know how and why a variety of types of understanding don't become, or have disappeared, or became invisible.

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V a n M e t e r i n his " P u t t i n g F a l s e F a c e s o n F o r m u l a s " ( F o o d I n d u s t r i e s , O c t o b e r 1 9 4 1 , 4 1 - 4 2 ) advised food chemists to disguise valuable formulas "so that w o r k m e n do not g e t w i s e t o i t a n d c o m p e t i t o r s c a n n o t s t e a l it. T h e i d e a i s t o u s e a r b i t r a r y u n i t s o f m e a s u r e m e n t a n d a d o p t c o i n e d n a m e s for i n g r e d i e n t s " ( 4 1 ) . 23. W i l l i a m P o u n d s t o n e , B i g Secrets: T h e Uncensored Truth a b o u t A l l Sorts of Stuff You Are N e v e r Supposed to K n o w ( N e w York: William M o r r o w , 1985).

G e o r g e O r w e l l , 1984 Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing. PL L. M e n c k e n ( 1 8 8 0 - 1 9 5 6 ) Ignorance is king, many would not prosper by its abdication. Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz ( 1 9 5 9 ) It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't. Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook (1960) Our knowledge can only be finite, while our ignorance must necessarily Karl Popper, Reports that say be infinite. Conjectures and Refutations (1963) that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know.

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. In part, this n e w secrecy issued from the government, and yet in no small measure it emerged in the hands of scientists themselves as they launched a discipline of self-censorship on matters relating to the nucleus. O u t of the $2 billion M a n h a t t a n Project and its subsequent evolution into the A t o m i c Energy C o m m i s s i o n ( A E C , n o w the D e p a r t m e n t of Energy) came one sector of secrecy, w i t h its t w i n classification categories of Re­ stricted Data and Formerly Restricted Data (FRD), this last for uninterest­ ing historical reasons covering military applications of nuclear w e a p o n s rather than their p r o d u c t i o n or design.

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