The Four Causes of Ignorance

There is no sin but stupidity
– Oscar Wilde

Roger Bacon, an English philosopher and scientist from a long time ago, shares his thoughts on what makes people stupid.

Bertrand Russell, in A History of Western Philosophy, summarizes Bacon as follows:

‘There are, he says, four causes of ignorance:

  • First, the example of frail and unsuitable authority.
  • Second, the influence of custom.
  • Third, the opinion of the unlearned crowd.
  • Fourth, the concealment of one’s ignorance in a display of apparent wisdom.

From these four plagues, of which the fourth is the worst, spring all human evils.’

Nicely put sir.




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