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IGNORANCE Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

The want or absence of knowledge.Ignorance of law is want of knowledge or acquaintance with the laws of the land inso far as they apply to the act, relation, duty, or matter under consideration. Ignoranceof fact is want of knowledge of some fact or facts constituting or relating to the subjectmatterin hand. Marshall v. Coleman, 187 111. 556, 58 N. E. 028; Haven v. Foster, 9Pick. (Mass.) 130, 19 Am. Dec. 353.Ignorance is not a state of the mind in the sense in which sanity and Insanity ‘are.Whenthe mind is ignorant of a fact, its condition still remains sound; the power of thinking, ofjudging, of willing, is just as complete before communication of the fact as after; theessence or texture, so to speak, of the mind, is not, as in the case of insanity, affectedor impaired. Ignorance of a particular fact consists in this: that the mind, althoughsound and capable of healthy action, has never acted upon the fact in question,because the subject has never been brought to the notice of the perceptive faculties.Meeker v, Boylan, 28 N. J. Law, 274.Synonyms. “Ignorance” and “error” or “mistake” are not convertible terms. Theformer is a lack of information or absence of knowledge; the latter, a misapprehensionor confusion of information, or a mistaken supposition of the possession of knowledge.Error as to a fact may imply ignorance of the truth : but ignorance does not necessarilyimply error. Ilutton v. Edgerton, 6 Rich. (S. C.) 4S9; Culbreath v. Culbreath, 7 Ga. 70,50 Am. Dec. 375.Essential ignorance is ignorance in relation to some essential circumstance so intimatelyconnected with the matter in question, and which so influences the parties, thatit induces them to act in the business. Poth. Vente, nn. 3. 4 ; 2 Kent. Comm. 307. Nonessentialor accidental ignorance is that which has not of itself any necessaryconnection with fhe business in question, and which is not the true consideration forentering into the contract. Involuntary ignorance is that which does not proceed fromchoice, and which cannot be overcome by the use of any means of knowledge knownto a person and within his power; as the ignorance of a law which has not yet beenpromulgated. Voluntary ignorance exists when a party might, by taking reasonablepains, have acquired the necessary knowledge. For example, every man might acquirea knowledge of the laws which have been promulgated. Doct & Stud. 1, 46; Plowd. 343.


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