The idea of Hanlon’s razor has me confused, it seems to be just pessimism but is different?

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The idea of Hanlon’s razor has me confused, it seems to be just pessimism but is different?

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Actually, I’d say it’s the opposite of pessimism. It’s basically saying that people are generally less malevolent than we would think. Sometimes people are just careless or, well… stupid. If something can be explained by stupidity, then it usually is stupidity, or at least partly.

People are generally more forgiving of people who make a genuine mistake, rather than someone who is actually trying to harm you. To me, Hanlon’s razor is saying “stay calm, investigate, don’t jump to conclusions”. But that might just be me.

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”

If anything I’d call this more optimistic than pessimistic. Hanlon’s Razor is saying that often people will look at something they view as abhorrent and say “These people are evil”, when in actual fact it is just stupidity. Ie, stupidity can often look the same as villainy: When someone does a bad thing, they didn’t necessarily intend to do a bad thing, they were just being stupid or misinformed. Hanlon’s Razor is saying that our first assumption when someone does something that *looks* evil should be to say that that person is stupid, rather than that that person is evil.

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