Is there a word that describes someone having a false sense of knowing?

In other words, one believes he knows X, but X isn't true.

Here is an example sentence:

However, consent forms give people only a false sense of knowing.

The sentence means that people are not given full knowledge or information but they think they are. This is close to being misinformed but not quite.

  • How about misinformed? – Mr Lister Dec 19 '12 at 8:12
  • @MrLister Thanks but it doesn't quite capture the effect. I think the phrase 'has the illusion of knowledge' is close but again just wondering if there is word to capture this. – Martin Velez Dec 19 '12 at 8:17
  • Can you give some more context? I can't imagine a situation where "he has the illusion of knowledge" wouldn't look strange. – Mr Lister Dec 19 '12 at 8:20
  • @MrLister I updated the question. – Martin Velez Dec 19 '12 at 8:27

Answering a question like this is almost impossible, because meaning is generated from several sources other than a dictionary.

It is generated in presupposed encyclopedic knowledge (Langacker's 'base'), in contextual experience (Frege's 'sense'), and in contextual knowledge (Filmore's 'frames'),and the use to which an utterance is put, so without access to your thoughts it is a very difficult task!

... but here is my vote anyway: misconception.

" The action or an act of misconceiving or misunderstanding something. Now chiefly: a view or opinion that is false or inaccurate because based on faulty thinking or understanding." (OED)

  • This is a good explanation of why questions such as this are too subjective, i.e., not constructive. The downvotes mystify me. – MetaEd Dec 19 '12 at 13:15

Words like misconception, false impression, delusion, or fallacy come to mind. If I were you, I'd look them up and see if any of them matches what you're looking for.

As for your example, I'd simply say that someone is under the false impression of being fully informed, or that they've been mislead to believe that they're fully informed.

I don't think you'll find a single word that has the same meaning, but if you want to look into it, I recommend you go to www.thesaurus.com and look for words with a meaning similar to the words that have already been mentioned here.

  • 2
    And misapprehension, although that doesn't entirely fit the example. – Andrew Leach Dec 19 '12 at 8:31
  • @AndrewLeach Thank you! Misapprehension is another great word to add to the list above. – Martin Velez Dec 19 '12 at 8:52
  • I suggest "illusion of knowledge" – Aaron Kurtzhals Dec 19 '12 at 15:45

The word you want is "complacency" or "complacent"

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