IGNORANCE IS ONE THING BUT IGNORATIO ELENCHI IS ANOTHER.......
Man's ignorance on any subject matter can only be described as overwhelming. The sum total of all knowledge and understanding extends way beyond man's mental capacity to absorb , grasp and memorise even the smallest chunk of such an infinite mass.
Ignorance of course is defined as " the condition of being uneducated , unaware , or uninformed ". Some commentators regard ignorance as a form of incompetence, but for me the best definition comes from an old Burmese proverb : " A man with little learning is like a frog who thinks its puddle a great sea ".
However, ignoratio elenchi ( also known as irrelevant conclusion or irrelevant thesis ) is the informal fallacy of presenting an argument that may in itself be valid , but does not address the issue in question. It is therefore by definition ignorance of the refutation. Nevertheless , this phrase is used more widely to cover the ignoring ( rather than ignorance ) of any contention , not just a refutation. A person is guilty of ignoratio elenchi if his contribution to the discussion fails to meet what his opponent actually said.
A classic example of this occured several years ago when the chairman of the committee , of which I was a member , told me that no one else in the room agreed with any of the concerns I had raised regarding a disciplinary matter. By saying this the chairman had cleverly avoided the need for any discussion to take place on issues I thought were of great significance . By failing to comment or refute any of my concerns , it was clearly apparent that no one on committee had bothered to pay any attention to what I had actually said.
So I was left to ponder whether or not any of my concerns had even a modicum of substance or merit , and if they did why was there no discussion at all as to why, or how , they could be challenged or refuted. Indeed , I am now utterely convinced that ignoratio elenchi amounts to nothing more than the ignorance of logic.