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Source: Effectiviology
Published: August 2018

Mental Models: Hanlon's Razor

Circulated: October 30, 2020

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by neglect," said Robert Hanlon

Hanlon's Razor teaches us that when we assess other people's actions, we should not assume that they acted out of a desire to cause harm. We should look to give others the benefit of the doubt. Doing so helps us avoid the negative emotions associated with assuming bad intentions.

Example: you didn't receive a calendar invite to an important event in your organization. Remembering Hanlon's Razor, you recognize that you shouldn't assume that this happened because the person in charge decided to avoid sending it to you since they dislike you. Instead, it is reasonable to assume that they simply forgot to send the invitation.

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