The talk examines the concept of knowledge resistance from a philosophical point of view. Knowledge resistance involves ignorance, but not all ignorance involves knowledge resistance. While ordinary ignorance can be overcome by supplying information, evidence, it is distinctive of knowledge resistant ignorance that supplying information does not help since the evidence is resisted. At a first approximation, then, knowledge resistance involves resisting available evidence. However, this characterization needs to be unpacked to be of any use. How is the notion of resistance to be understood and which are the psychological mechanisms involved? To what extent does knowledge resistance involve irrationality? And what does it mean for evidence to be available?
About the speaker
Åsa Wikforss (born 25 July 1961) is a professor of theoretical philosophy at Stockholm University, and a member of the Swedish Academy.
Wikforss does research in the intersection of philosophy of mind, language and epistemology and has published widely on a variety of topics in the area. She is a member of several international research networks and research councils and was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In September 2017 she published Alternativa fakta. Om kunskapen och dess fiender (Alternative facts. On knowledge and its enemies), a book that has had a great impact in Sweden. During 2018 she has had over a hundred public appearances, speaking about knowledge and knowledge-resistance, in Sweden and beyond. She participates frequently in the public debate in Sweden, in print as well as on TV and radio.
How to join
Hosted by the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life and the American University of Armenia, the PERITIA Lectures are open to all upon registration via Zoom and moderated by science communicator Shane Bergin. This online series runs in two parts every second Tuesday, from April to June and from September to November 2021. Participants are invited to join an interactive Q&A debate after each lecture. Reading materials are available for academic purposes on this page. Registration is free.