Less Is More: The Value of Selective Ignorance

Join us as we listen to Tarun Menon, Faculty, Azim Premji University, talk about the virtues of being selectively ignorant in our everyday lives.

Humanities Seminar Tarun Menon 1

The more you know, the better, right? Not necessarily. In this talk, Tarun describes how ignorance is often a virtue when it comes to understanding the world. 

We, humans, only have coarse-grained access to our surroundings; there is an unfathomable amount of information that our senses simply cannot detect. But this partial access to the world is not merely a limitation on our knowledge. It enables us to make predictions, construct explanations and exercise causal control. 

Lack of information can be a resource, Tarun argues, because it can give us access to emergent patterns in nature that would be otherwise invisible. He discusses three valuable consequences of limited access to information — it can enable unifying explanations of otherwise disparate phenomena, it can render otherwise unpredictable systems predictable, and it can reveal more robust causal relations.

About the speaker: Tarun Menon is a part of the Philosophy group, School of Arts and Sciences, Azim Premji University. He specialises in the philosophy of science, with a particular interest in how one reconciles the often esoteric scientific image of the world with our ordinary everyday perception of the world.