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The Virtues of Ignorance: Complexity, Sustainability, and the Limits of Knowledge
     

The Virtues of Ignorance: Complexity, Sustainability, and the Limits of Knowledge

by Bill Vitek
 

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Human dependence on technology has increased exponentially over the past several centuries, and so too has the notion that we can fix environmental problems with scientific applications. The Virtues of Ignorance: Complexity, Sustainability, and the Limits of Knowledge proposes an alternative to this hubristic, shortsighted, and dangerous worldview. The contributors

Overview

Human dependence on technology has increased exponentially over the past several centuries, and so too has the notion that we can fix environmental problems with scientific applications. The Virtues of Ignorance: Complexity, Sustainability, and the Limits of Knowledge proposes an alternative to this hubristic, shortsighted, and dangerous worldview. The contributors argue that uncritical faith in scientific knowledge has created many of the problems now threatening the planet and that our wholesale reliance on scientific progress is both untenable and myopic. Bill Vitek, Wes Jackson, and a diverse group of thinkers, including Wendell Berry, Anna Peterson, and Robert Root-Bernstein, offer profound arguments for the advantages of an ignorance-based worldview. Their essays explore this philosophy from numerous perspectives, including its origins, its essence, and how its implementation can preserve vital natural resources for posterity. All conclude that we must simply accept the proposition that our ignorance far exceeds our knowledge and always will. Rejecting the belief that science and technology are benignly at the service of society, the authors argue that recognizing ignorance might be the only path to reliable knowledge. They also uncover an interesting paradox: knowledge and insight accumulate fastest in the minds of those who hold an ignorance-based worldview, for by examining the alternatives to a technology-based culture, they expand their imaginations. Demonstrating that knowledge-based worldviews are more dangerous than useful, The Virtues of Ignorance looks closely at the relationship between the land and the future generations who will depend on it. The authors argue that we can never improve upon nature but that we can, by putting this new perspective to work in our professional and personal lives, live sustainably on Earth.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Every now and again you come across a read you feel certain will shift the landscape of thought in unpredictable ways. The Virtues of Ignorance is likely to raise a few eyebrows in the scientific community and the fallout is likely to be both stimulating and positive." —Claude Stephens, Forest Echo" —

"Demonstrating that knowledge-based worldviews are more dangerous than useful, the book looks closely at the relationship between the land and the future generations who will depend on it." —Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and Environment" —

"The questions raised throughout the book encourage a pause for reflection — on what we think we know and the implications our knowledge has on the world around us." —International Journal of Illich Studies" —

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813138763
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
04/18/2008
Series:
Culture of the Land
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Bill Vitek, professor of philosophy at Clarkson University, is the author of several books, including Promising, Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place, and Applying Philosophy. He lives in Postdam, New York.Wes Jackson, president of the Land Institute and former professor at Kansas Wesleyan and California State universities, is the author of several books, including Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place, Becoming Native to this Place, and Altars of an Unhewn Stone. He lives in Salina, Kansas.

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