Rational ignorance

From Example Problems
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rational ignorance is a term most often found in economics, particularly public choice theory, but also used in other disciplines which study rationality and choice, including philosophy (epistemology) and game theory.

Ignorance about an issue is said to be "rational" when the cost of educating oneself about the issue sufficiently to make an informed decision can outweigh any potential benefit one could reasonably expect to gain from that decision, and so it would be irrational to waste time doing so. This has consequences for the quality of decisions made by large numbers of people, such as general elections, where the probability of any one vote changing the outcome is very small. (However, see Categorical Imperative for another view on this.)

See also