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Willed Ignorance Summary

Description: Refusing to change one’s mind or consider conflicting information based on a desire to maintain one’s existing beliefs.

Logical Form:

I believe X.

You have evidence for Y.

I don’t want to see it because I don’t want to stop believing in X, so X is still true.

Example #1:

I don’t want anything coming in the way of me and my beliefs; therefore, I will only socialize with people who share my beliefs.

Explanation: This is a common form of the fallacy — excluding oneself from society as a whole to smaller subgroups where the same general opinions are shared.

Example #2:

Carl: Exercise causes cancer.

Janet: That is not true. I have mountains of evidence I can show you that demonstrates the opposite.

Carl: You keep your exercise propaganda to yourself. I know what I know. Now if you will excuse me, I have to binge watch Baywatch.

Explanation: Carl is blissfully ignorant in his belief that allows him to avoid the wonderful pain of exercise. Perhaps Carl does suspect that he is wrong, but feels he does not have to change his belief until he is proven wrong. Thus, he will not allow Janet the opportunity to prove him wrong.

Exception: There may be circumstances where ignorance is truly bliss, and it is better to maintain a positive illusion than to be exposed to a hard truth that one is not psychologically prepared to accept.

Fun Fact: This fallacy is similar to the confirmation bias, but as a fallacy, it is used in argumentation.

References:

This a logical fallacy frequently used on the Internet. No academic sources could be found.