Difference Between Ignorance and Apathy

There are various human behaviors and characteristics. Each person portrays and behaves differently from one another. These characteristics are used as adjectives to describe a person. Human behavior is the way an individual responds to internal and external stimuli. There are various kinds of human behaviors.

Human behaviors can be normal and few abnormal. Certain characteristics pass to a person as heredity, and few are what they develop and adopt by themselves in the course of life. Sometimes people don’t realize how they behave, and in this process, they tend to hurt someone’s feelings. Outspoken, shy, ignorant, sympathetic, apathetic, etc., are a few types of human behaviors and adjectives to address them.

Ignorance vs Apathy

The main difference between ignorance and apathy is that ignorance is the lack of knowledge or information, whereas apathy is the lack of interest or concern. An ignorant person is someone who does not have the knowledge or information to do something, is unaware, whereas an apathetic person is someone who has the knowledge but is not interested or concerned to do something.

Ignorance vs Apathy

  Ignorance is a state of being unaware or lack of knowledge. Ignorant is an adjective used to describe a person in this state. There are different kinds of ignorance. It is mostly negative and can have a wrong impact, but also ignorance can create an urge to gain more knowledge or information about something. One must work towards this trait and try to be less ignorant.

Apathy is the state in which a person lacks emotions, feelings, or interest to do something. In a state where a person feels suppression of emotions like excitement, passion, concern, etc., extreme forms of apathy are considered to be a disorder in many ways. Many mental conditions can be a result of the person’s state of apathy. Various degrees change and depend on person to person. There are three sub-types of apathy.

Comparison Table Between Ignorance and Apathy

 Parameters of Comparison Ignorance Apathy
 Definition  Lack of information or knowledge Lack of emotions or feelings.
 Etymology Derived from an old French word via Latin ‘ignorantia’. Derived from the Greek word ‘apatheia’.
 Types Factual, object, technical. Emotional, behavior, general, bystander, etc.
 Adjective Ignorant is the adjective used to describe a person in a state of ignorance. Apathetic is the adjective used to describe apathy.
 Symptoms Making random statements does not know proofs, dragging without having a point, false statements, etc. Lack of emotions, low energy levels, the feeling of indifference, etc.
 Usage in the Sentence He did it in ignorance. She was sunk in apathy after his failure.

What is Ignorance?

Ignorance is a lack of information or being unaware of something. When a person is in this state, he/she is known as an ignorant person. It is an adjective used to describe that person (in that state). There are different kinds of ignorance based on what kind of information a person is aware of. Ignorance is derived from an old French word via the Latin word ”ignorantia” – ”ignorant”.

When a person lacks knowledge about some facts, it is known as ”factual ignorance”, when a person is unaware of some objects, it is known as ”object ignorance”, and ”technical ignorance” is when a person does not know how to do something. 

Ignorance can mentally impact a person’s mind; they can indirectly or directly get affected, can lose confidence, or lose power over themselves.

If a person is ignorant, it is not considered a good sign; it can have negative effects on the person and people around them (the society). Sometimes it is considered to be a benefit as people tend to learn more and make efforts to avoid ignorance. It’sIt’s like they have a constant desire to gain knowledge no matter how hard it is. Sometimes people can even pretend to be ignorant for their reasons. But this is only in rare cases. Other than that, this it’s always a negative impact.

There are various other concepts of ignorance in different fields. Rational ignorance, pluralistic ignorance (social psychology), vincible ignorance, etc., each concept has different meanings and understanding based on their fields.

Example in a sentence –

  • Ignorance is the mother of all evil and negativity.
  • He did it in ignorance
  • She had to pay a huge price because of her ignorance.

What is Apathy?

Apathy is the state in which a person lacks feelings, emotions or has no interest in doing something. It is when their concerns, excitement, etc., are suppressed and don’t reflect. Apathetic is an adjective used to describe a person who is experiencing apathy. 

They can lose interest in different aspects, be it social, physical, emotional, etc. It is said that the word apathy was first used in 1594. It is derived from the Greek word ”apatheia” from apathes that means without, and pathos, which means emotion.

There are many reasons behind apathy. They can experience laziness, disappointment, rejection, and also, they can opt to be disinterested or emotionless to cope up with stress. Sometimes it cognitive as the person might know it and yet can’t do anything about it, but most of the time, it’s unknown; the person will have no idea about his behavior.

Many different brain disorders can have characteristics of an increased level of apathy. It is known as pathological apathy—conditions like Alzheimer’sAlzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and few other neurodegenerative conditions. There are various methods such as questionnaires or instruments use to measure pathological apathy or also in healthy people. Apathy evaluation scale (first method), apathy motivation index, dimensional apathy scales are a few methods. It can also be treated up to a certain extent with the help of medications, psychotherapy, coping, etc.  

Main Differences Between Ignorance and Apathy

  1. Ignorance is the lack of information or knowledge, whereas apathy is the lack of emotions or feelings.
  2. Ignorance is derived from an old French word via Latin’ Latin’ ignorantia” whereas apathy is derived from the Greek word ”apatheia”.
  3. Factual, object, technical ignorance are types of ignorance, whereas emotional, behavior, general, bystander, etc., are the types of apathy.
  4. Ignorant is the adjective used to describe a person in a state of ignorance, whereas apathetic is the adjective used to describe apathy.
  5. Making random statements does not know proofs, dragging without having a point, false statements, etc., are symptoms of ignorance, whereas lack of emotions, low energy levels, feeling of indifference, etc., are symptoms of apathy.


There are many such human behaviors and are portrayed in many different ways and levels by each individual. Few traits are positive, and few are negative because each human acts and interacts in their way. It is important to know the usage of the words because it might create a problem if used in the wrong way.

Everyone experiences these feelings at least once in their lives; these can affect your abilities; can impact relationships, work, friendship, etc. In today’s world, these traits are seen very often, but avoiding them is important. Being productive, having knowledge, understanding the emotions and feelings of each other is essential.  


  1. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=xs_pAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT383&dq=ignorance&ots=Xn4VNeVIDC&sig=0UoBDExccOvYY1bVXj756C2jvrQ
  2. https://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/jnp.17.1.7
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