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Ignorance

Ignorance

Author: Stuart Firestein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199939330
Pages: 208
Year: 2012-04-23
Knowledge is a big subject, says Stuart Firestein, but ignorance is a bigger one. And it is ignorance--not knowledge--that is the true engine of science. Most of us have a false impression of science as a surefire, deliberate, step-by-step method for finding things out and getting things done. In fact, says Firestein, more often than not, science is like looking for a black cat in a dark room, and there may not be a cat in the room. The process is more hit-or-miss than you might imagine, with much stumbling and groping after phantoms. But it is exactly this "not knowing," this puzzling over thorny questions or inexplicable data, that gets researchers into the lab early and keeps them there late, the thing that propels them, the very driving force of science. Firestein shows how scientists use ignorance to program their work, to identify what should be done, what the next steps are, and where they should concentrate their energies. And he includes a catalog of how scientists use ignorance, consciously or unconsciously--a remarkable range of approaches that includes looking for connections to other research, revisiting apparently settled questions, using small questions to get at big ones, and tackling a problem simply out of curiosity. The book concludes with four case histories--in cognitive psychology, theoretical physics, astronomy, and neuroscience--that provide a feel for the nuts and bolts of ignorance, the day-to-day battle that goes on in scientific laboratories and in scientific minds with questions that range from the quotidian to the profound. Turning the conventional idea about science on its head, Ignorance opens a new window on the true nature of research. It is a must-read for anyone curious about science.
Ignorance

Ignorance

Author: Stuart Firestein
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0199828075
Pages: 195
Year: 2012-04-23
Contrary to the popular view of science as a mountainous accumulation of facts and data, Stuart Firestein takes the novel perspective that ignorance is the main product and driving force of science, and that this is the best way to understand the process of scientific discovery.
Ignorance

Ignorance

Author: Stuart Firestein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199828083
Pages: 208
Year: 2012-04-23
Knowledge is a big subject, says Stuart Firestein, but ignorance is a bigger one. And it is ignorance--not knowledge--that is the true engine of science. Most of us have a false impression of science as a surefire, deliberate, step-by-step method for finding things out and getting things done. In fact, says Firestein, more often than not, science is like looking for a black cat in a dark room, and there may not be a cat in the room. The process is more hit-or-miss than you might imagine, with much stumbling and groping after phantoms. But it is exactly this "not knowing," this puzzling over thorny questions or inexplicable data, that gets researchers into the lab early and keeps them there late, the thing that propels them, the very driving force of science. Firestein shows how scientists use ignorance to program their work, to identify what should be done, what the next steps are, and where they should concentrate their energies. And he includes a catalog of how scientists use ignorance, consciously or unconsciously--a remarkable range of approaches that includes looking for connections to other research, revisiting apparently settled questions, using small questions to get at big ones, and tackling a problem simply out of curiosity. The book concludes with four case histories--in cognitive psychology, theoretical physics, astronomy, and neuroscience--that provide a feel for the nuts and bolts of ignorance, the day-to-day battle that goes on in scientific laboratories and in scientific minds with questions that range from the quotidian to the profound. Turning the conventional idea about science on its head, Ignorance opens a new window on the true nature of research. It is a must-read for anyone curious about science.
Failure

Failure

Author: Stuart Firestein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199390118
Pages: 208
Year: 2015-09-01
The general public has a glorified view of the pursuit of scientific research. However, the idealized perception of science as a rule-based, methodical system for accumulating facts could not be further from the truth. Modern science involves the idiosyncratic, often bumbling search for understanding in uncharted territories, full of wrong turns, false findings, and the occasional remarkable success. In his sequel to Ignorance (Oxford University Press, 2012), Stuart Firestein shows us that the scientific enterprise is riddled with mistakes and errors - and that this is a good thing! Failure: Why Science Is So Successful delves into the origins of scientific research as a process that relies upon trial and error, one which inevitably results in a hefty dose of failure. In fact, scientists throughout history have relied on failure to guide their research, viewing mistakes as a necessary part of the process. Citing both historical and contemporary examples, Firestein strips away the distorted view of science as infallible to provide the public with a rare, inside glimpse of the messy realities of the scientific process. An insider's view of how science is actually carried out, this book will delight anyone with an interest in science, from aspiring scientists to curious general readers. Accessible and entertaining, Failure illuminates the greatest and most productive adventure of human history, with all the missteps along the way.
It's Not Rocket Science

It's Not Rocket Science

Author: Ben Miller
Publisher: Sphere
ISBN: 0748128506
Pages: 320
Year: 2012-07-12
The Top Ten Bestseller Black holes. DNA. The Large Hadron Collider. Ever had that sneaking feeling that you are missing out on some truly spectacular science? You do? Well, fear not, for help is at hand. Ben Miller was working on his Physics PhD at Cambridge when he accidentally became a comedian. But first love runs deep, and he has returned to his roots to share with you all his favourite bits of science. This is the stuff you really need to know, not only because it matters but because it will quite simply amaze and delight you. 'Let me show you another, perhaps less familiar side of Science; her beauty, her seductiveness and her passion. And let's do it quickly, while Maths isn't looking' Ben Miller 'This book makes climate change actually seem interesting. Not just important - it's obviously important - but interesting. As a result I bought lots of other books about climate change, something I now regret' David Mitchell Ben Miller is, like you, a mutant ape living through an Ice Age on a ball of molten iron, orbiting a supermassive black hole. He is also an actor, comedian and approximately one half of Armstrong & Miller. He's presented a BBC Horizon documentary on temperature and a Radio 4 series about the history of particle physics, and has written a science column for The Times. He is slowly coming to terms with the idea that he may never be an astronaut.
Ignorance

Ignorance

Author: Robert Graef
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 1633883213
Pages: 351
Year: 2017
Sums up the many fields of study where ignorance can undermine our understanding, while showing how an awareness of ignorance can lead to exploration and the discovery of new knowledge. The flip side of knowledge is ignorance. This book explores the vast scope of ignorance, even in an age when we think we know more than ever before. By marking off this ocean of ignorance into manageable categories, the author provides a kind of navigational chart to the unknown, and a series of red flags to all those who claim certitude. The book first lays out the many branches of ignorance--in education, the media, politics, religion, science, and other major institutions. It then assesses the costs and consequences of that ignorance. World conflicts, endemic poverty, environmental damage, waste, racism, and the manipulative forces of industry and politics that use propaganda to manipulate the public may all be seen as rooted in ignorance. But there are positive aspects of ignorance as well. Scientists and artists, by recognizing what they don't know, are spurred on to new creative approaches and discoveries, which would never be found by those too comfortable with the tried and true. The author cites Socrates, whom the Delphic Oracle declared to be the wisest of all people simply because he realized how much he didn't know. This book gives you ways to follow in the path that Socrates forged, to counter the closed minds whose false sense of certainty cannot help but distort reality, and to be better prepared to take on even the most serious challenges of today.
The Island of Knowledge

The Island of Knowledge

Author: Marcelo Gleiser
Publisher: Basic Civitas Books
ISBN: 0465031714
Pages: 335
Year: 2014
A natural philosophy expert who is also a physics and astronomy professor discusses the limits of scientific explanations and how our knowledge of the universe and its nature will always remain necessarily incomplete. 15,000 first printing.
Understanding Ignorance

Understanding Ignorance

Author: Daniel R. DeNicola
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262341042
Pages: 264
Year: 2017-08-11
Ignorance is trending. Politicians boast, "I'm not a scientist." Angry citizens object to a proposed state motto because it is in Latin, and "This is America, not Mexico or Latin America." Lack of experience, not expertise, becomes a credential. Fake news and repeated falsehoods are accepted and shape firm belief. Ignorance about American government and history is so alarming that the ideal of an informed citizenry now seems quaint. Conspiracy theories and false knowledge thrive. This may be the Information Age, but we do not seem to be well informed. In this book, philosopher Daniel DeNicola explores ignorance -- its abundance, its endurance, and its consequences. DeNicola aims to understand ignorance, which seems at first paradoxical. How can the unknown become known -- and still be unknown? But he argues that ignorance is more than a lack or a void, and that it has dynamic and complex interactions with knowledge. Taking a broadly philosophical approach, DeNicola examines many forms of ignorance, using the metaphors of ignorance as place, boundary, limit, and horizon. He treats willful ignorance and describes the culture in which ignorance becomes an ideological stance. He discusses the ethics of ignorance, including the right not to know, considers the supposed virtues of ignorance, and concludes that there are situations in which ignorance is morally good. Ignorance is neither pure nor simple. It is both an accusation and a defense ("You are ignorant!" "Yes, but I didn't know!"). Its practical effects range from the inconsequential to the momentous. It is a scourge, but, DeNicola argues daringly, it may also be a refuge, a value, even an accompaniment to virtue.
Respecting Truth

Respecting Truth

Author: Lee McIntyre
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317497171
Pages: 162
Year: 2015-06-05
Throughout history, humans have always indulged in certain irrationalities and held some fairly wrong-headed beliefs. But in his newest book, philosopher Lee McIntyre shows how we've now reached a watershed moment for ignorance in the modern era, due to the volume of misinformation, the speed with which it can be digitally disseminated, and the savvy exploitation of our cognitive weaknesses by those who wish to advance their ideological agendas. In Respecting Truth: Willful Ignorance in the Internet Age, McIntyre issues a call to fight back against this slide into the witless abyss. In the tradition of Galileo, the author champions the importance of using tested scientific methods for arriving at true beliefs, and shows how our future survival is dependent on a more widespread, reasonable world.
Willful Ignorance

Willful Ignorance

Author: Herbert I. Weisberg
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118593790
Pages: 452
Year: 2014-06-23
An original account of willful ignorance and how this principle relates to modern probability and statistical methods Through a series of colorful stories about great thinkers and the problems they chose to solve, the author traces the historical evolution of probability and explains how statistical methods have helped to propel scientific research. However, the past success of statistics has depended on vast, deliberate simplifications amounting to willful ignorance, and this very success now threatens future advances in medicine, the social sciences, and other fields. Limitations of existing methods result in frequent reversals of scientific findings and recommendations, to the consternation of both scientists and the lay public. Willful Ignorance: The Mismeasure of Uncertainty exposes the fallacy of regarding probability as the full measure of our uncertainty. The book explains how statistical methodology, though enormously productive and influential over the past century, is approaching a crisis. The deep and troubling divide between qualitative and quantitative modes of research, and between research and practice, are reflections of this underlying problem. The author outlines a path toward the re-engineering of data analysis to help close these gaps and accelerate scientific discovery. Willful Ignorance: The Mismeasure of Uncertainty presents essential information and novel ideas that should be of interest to anyone concerned about the future of scientific research. The book is especially pertinent for professionals in statistics and related fields, including practicing and research clinicians, biomedical and social science researchers, business leaders, and policy-makers.
Miseducation

Miseducation

Author: A. J. Angulo
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 1421419319
Pages: 384
Year: 2016-02-18
Ignorance, or the study of ignorance, is having a moment. Ignorance plays a powerful role in shaping public opinion, channeling our politics, and even directing scholarly research. The first collection of essays to grapple with the historical interplay between education and ignorance, Miseducation finds ignorance—and its social production through naïveté, passivity, and active agency—at the center of many pivotal historical developments. Ignorance allowed Americans to maintain the institution of slavery, Nazis to promote ideas of race that fomented genocide in the 1930s, and tobacco companies to downplay the dangers of cigarettes. Today, ignorance enables some to deny the fossil record and others to ignore climate science. A. J. Angulo brings together seventeen experts from across the scholarly spectrum to explore how intentional ignorance seeps into formal education. Each chapter identifies education as a critical site for advancing our still-limited understanding of what exactly ignorance is, where it comes from, and how it is diffused, maintained, and regulated in society. Miseducation also challenges the notion that schools are, ideally, unimpeachable sites of knowledge production, access, and equity. By investigating how laws, myths, national aspirations, and global relations have recast and, at times, distorted the key purposes of education, this pathbreaking book sheds light on the role of ignorance in shaping ideas, public opinion, and policy.
Public Knowledge, Private Ignorance

Public Knowledge, Private Ignorance

Author: Patrick Wilson
Publisher: Praeger Pub Text
ISBN:
Pages: 156
Year: 1977-01-01
An examination of the role of libraries in the utilization of knowledge and in enhancing the informed conduct of life incorporates a review of the goals of library use and library services.
Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies

Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies

Author: Matthias Gross, Linsey McGoey
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317964675
Pages: 408
Year: 2015-05-15
Once treated as the absence of knowledge, ignorance today has become a highly influential topic in its own right, commanding growing attention across the natural and social sciences where a wide range of scholars have begun to explore the social life and political issues involved in the distribution and strategic use of not knowing. The field is growing fast and this handbook reflects this interdisciplinary field of study by drawing contributions from economics, sociology, history, philosophy, cultural studies, anthropology, feminist studies, and related fields in order to serve as a seminal guide to the political, legal and social uses of ignorance in social and political life.
The Half-Life of Facts

The Half-Life of Facts

Author: Samuel Arbesman
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 159184651X
Pages: 246
Year: 2013
A scientometrics expert analyzes the changing nature of factual information to explain how knowledge in most fields evolves in systematic and predictable ways that, if properly understood, can be powerful tools for training and professional improvement.
Innovation Generation

Innovation Generation

Author: Roberta B. Ness
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0199892598
Pages: 262
Year: 2012-03-01
"Innovation Generation presents a fascinating new approach to creative thinking. Using a system of idea-generating methods honed over her illustrious career as a physician, researcher, professor, teacher, and Dean, Roberta Ness provides all the tools needed to learn how to cast aside habitual cognitive maps called frames and draw insights from other fields. The tools focus in on developing a good scientific question: how to expand it to reveal a larger one, pull it into component parts, and turn it on its head to flip cause and effect. Readers will also learn how to change points of view and work more effectively in multidisciplinary groups. Finally, this book coaches readers on incorporating newly acquired innovation tools into the normal scientific process. In so doing, Innovation Generation is a valuable method for advancing scientific aspirations. "-- Provided by publisher.