Proctor and Schiebinger's collection of essays looks at the study of ignorance in order to ask, "Why don't we know what we know?" and to show that ignorance can be a result of cultural and political struggles, rather than simply being an absence of knowledge.
McLemee argues that ignorance — and the awareness of one's own ignorance — is the foundation for attaining wisdom, that both knowledge and wisdom are interconnected and are "both socially produced and socially productive."
McLemee says that ignorance, "...serves to foster a wide range of social and cognitive goods," and says that the Agnotology essay by Michael J. Smithson, "Social Theories of Ignorance" addresses those benefits:
"A zone of carefully cultivated ignorance is involved in privacy and politeness, for example. It is also intrinsic to specialization. 'The stereotypical explanation for specialization,' writes Smithson, 'is that it arises when there is too much for any one person to learn anything.” But another way of looking at it is to regard specialization as a means whereby 'the risk of being ignorant about crucial matters is spread by diversifying ignorance.'"