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Understanding Ignorance: The Fall of the Expert?

Chatham House, London


Daniel DeNicola, Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Gettysburg College; Author, Understanding Ignorance
Chair: Aeron Davis, Professor of Political Communication, Goldsmiths, University of London


During the UK's 2016 EU Referendum campaign, Michael Gove famously asserted that "people in this country have had enough of experts." If this is the case, where is this antipathy towards expertise coming from and what, if anything, can be done about it?

In the internet age, where people can more readily fact-check or substantiate claims, why would expert opinion be shunned and what is taking its place?

Daniel DeNicola will aim to unpack the complicated, interlinking issues to which these questions give rise. Are recent claims that ignorance is ‘trending’ justified or is this hyperbole?

He will examine ignorance in its many forms and assess whether it is now an ideological stance in itself. Is wilful ignorance providing refuge for some in turbulent political, economic and social times?