PERITIA Lecture 6: What is Knowledge Resistance?

This talk examines the concept of knowledge resistance from a philosophical point of view. Knowledge resistance involves ignorance, but not all ignorance involves knowledge resistance. While ordinary ignorance can be overcome by supplying information and evidence, it is distinctive of knowledge resistant ignorance that supplying information does not help since the evidence is resisted.

At a first approximation, then, knowledge resistance involves resisting available evidence. However, this characterization needs to be unpacked to be of any use. How is the notion of resistance to be understood and which are the psychological mechanisms involved? To what extent does knowledge resistance involve irrationality? And what does it mean for evidence to be available?


Åsa Wikforss (born 25 July 1961) is a professor of theoretical philosophy at Stockholm University, and a member of the Swedish Academy.

Wikforss does research in the intersection of philosophy of mind, language and epistemology and has published widely on a variety of topics in the area. She is a member of several international research networks and research councils and was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

In September 2017 she published ‘Alternativa fakta. Om kunskapen och dess fiender’ (Alternative facts. On knowledge and its enemies), a book that has had a great impact in Sweden. During 2018 she has had over a hundred public appearances, speaking about knowledge and knowledge-resistance, in Sweden and beyond. She participates frequently in the public debate in Sweden, in print as well as on TV and radio.

On 9 May 2019 she was elected as a member of Swedish Academy, to succeed Sara Danius on seat 7. She was formally inducted on 20 December 2019.


PERITIA launched a series of public lectures  around the topic of ‘[Un]Truths: Trust in an Age of Disinformation’. Read more about the upcoming lectures here.


9 November 2021

4 PM Dublin
5 PM Berlin
7 PM Yerevan

Due to sudden personal circumstances, the event has been cancelled. More information on future dates coming soon.


Online event

Open to the public; registration mandatory

Register here