Simulated Ignorance

According to this, the word “irony” comes from the Greek word eir?neia, which referred to the Socratic argument technique of feigning ignorance to get your opponent to say something you can poke holes in.
American Heritage gives the etymology as

French ironie, from Old French, from Latin ?r?n?a, from Greek eir?neia, feigned ignorance, from eir?n, dissembler, probably from eirein, to say.

I like the idea of simulated ignorance, and I think it’s kind of amazing that it is linked with both the ideas of dissembling and speech.

While I’m attracted to these things, I am also not a fundamentally ironic person. I think if you try to live on feigned igorance alone, you sort of starve. Eventually, you have to try to know something.

2 thoughts on “Simulated Ignorance”

  1. Ouch!!!!! You know me too well!

    Too bad there’s not a Greek word for “simulated knowledge”.

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