Sujith Jay Nair Thinking Aloud

Philosophy Articles

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    Hanlon's Razor: Some Comments

    Do not attribute to malice that which can be explained by the less criminal motives of ignorance and lethargy.

    An aphorism of utmost utility in my life is the Hanlon’s Razor. I find it a liberating rule of thumb to weigh a lot of unavoidably unpleasant experiences in daily life. In a less formal & more terse form that I prefer, it reads:

    Stupid people abound; Malicious people, less so.

    There is a neat wikipedia article on it which focuses on its origin, and also introduced me to an earlier form of the aphorism by Goethe.

    Misunderstandings and lethargy perhaps produce more wrong in the world than deceit and malice do. At least the latter two are certainly rarer. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in The Sorrows of Young Werther
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