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Hanlon's Razor

Adage, Anecdote, Metaphor
Hostile Attribution Bias
Hanlon's Razor


The aphorism which reminds us to never attribute to malice something that can simply be explained by incompetence.


The phrase was coined by Robert Hanlon in the 1980s, but has been similarly expressed by Goethe and Napoleon in the 18th century — "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." (source)

Everyday Use

This one can be used as a daily reminder in so many of our interactions. It's hard to recognize that so often, things around us aren't happening to us, much less with purposefully bad intent — rather, they exist as circumstances of the moment, often having little to do with us personally.