Friday, February 13, 2015

Help Fix an Abysmal Wikipedia Paragraph

I was about to write something about the little-known Just World Fallacy, and figured I'd link to the relevant Wikipedia page. I was about to give it a quick read, but, after seven failed passes through the impenetrable lead paragraph, I realized I can't possibly send readers into such a bear trap.

So I decided to try to edit the hairball of a lead paragraph myself, but found that, per the four feet of tarry, plough-compressed snow and ice currently blocking my mailbox, there's simply no way in. It's the world's tightest knot, impregnably blocking all non-philosophy grad students from enjoying an incredibly insightful concept.

Can anyone, more patient and competent than me, figure out a way to edit this? To release a lovely insight tragically frozen solid within an ice block (and do so without irking the article's previous contributors and spurring them to revert the changes)? We'll all be watching!

Here it is, for those too lazy to click (be sure you're in a well-ventilated room).

The just-world hypothesis or just-world fallacy is the cognitive bias (or assumption) that a person's actions are inherently inclined to bring morally fair and fitting consequences to that person, to the end of all noble actions being eventually rewarded and all evil actions eventually punished. In other words, the just-world hypothesis is the tendency to attribute consequences to - or expect consequences as the result of - a universal force that restores moral balance. This belief generally implies that in the existence of cosmic justice, destiny, divine providence, desert, stability, or order, and has high potential to result in fallacy, especially when used to rationalize people's misfortune on the grounds that they "deserve" it.
As I once sighed to a college classmate who asked whether I'd managed to get through "Inquiry Concerning the Distinctness of the Principles of Natural Theology and Morality": I Kant. I just really just Kant.

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