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Just World Hypothesis

September 3, 2009

A great post that links to the New Yorker article on the Texan prisoner execution that probably killed the wrong man. The post has a fascinating discussion on the ‘Just World’ Hypothesis (where it came from, what it is). An excerpt:

The moral of the Just World Hypothesis is that people have a powerful intuition that the world is just and that people get what they deserve. While I’m sure this instinct makes all sorts of social contracts possible, it also leads to one very troubling tendency: we often rationalize injustices away, so that we can maintain our naive belief in a just world.

I don’t believe in the ‘Just World’ Hypothesis. I belong more to the ‘World Sucks & then you Die’ school of thought. But I found this notion fascinating that our mind instinctively balances injustices with justice. And after some thought, realized that I do do this. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Which sounds more compassionate than “people get what they deserve”, but is that not instinctively the same thing? Am I blog-babbling again?

I also really dig John Lehrer at Mind Hacks.


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