Ignorance the want of knowledge or instruction. It is often used to denote illiteracy. Mr. Locke observes that the causes of ignorance are chiefly three:
1, want of ideas;
2, want of a discoverable connection between the ideas we have;
3, want of tracing and examining our ideas.
As respects religion, ignorance has been distinguished into three sorts:
1. An invincible ignorance, in which the will has no part. It is an insult upon justice to suppose it will punish men because they were ignorant of things which they were physically incapable of knowing.
2. There is a willful and obstinate ignorance; such an ignorance, far from exculpating, aggravates a man's crimes.
3. A sort of voluntary ignorance, which is neither entirely willful nor entirely invincible, as when a man has the means of knowledge, and does not use them. — Locke, On the Understanding. 2, 178; Grove, Moral Philosophy, 2, 26, 29, 64; Watts, On the Mind; Henderson's Buck, Theolog. Dict. s.v. SEE KNOWLEDGE.