Thursday, August 03, 2006

Malice, stupidity, and information asymmetry

Says Hanlon's Razor principle:
Information asymmetryNever attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.Information asymmetry

Spurred by my recent thoughts on information symmetry, my mind was quick to follow it up with "... and never attribute to stupidity what can be explained by information asymmetry". What I refer to as information asymmetry may be as simple as differential visibility while on road or might be manifested subtly in international relations.

When I was searching for links to cite, I came across this site, which has a more elegant formulation by M. L. Plano.
Information asymmetryNever attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don't assign to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to assume your opponent is the ignorant one -- until you can show it isn't you.Information asymmetry

Sigh! Someone always does it before you, and better.

2 Comments:

Blogger sri said...

There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity; and I guess experience (or maybe "insight") teaches us how to tell them apart. It is this insight again that teaches us to identify the source of ignorance.

August 04, 2006 6:44 pm  
Blogger Sundar said...

Hmm ... may be the insight has only partly occured to me ;) Or may be I'm not thinking from the other person's shoes as often as needed.

August 04, 2006 6:49 pm  

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