Social Sciences

The Just World Fallacy Says People Get What They Deserve

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If a friend told you his wallet was stolen from his back pocket while he was in a strange city, what would you think? You might feel sorry for him and offer him sympathy, but you may also think, "He shouldn't have been carrying his wallet in his back pocket in a strange place." Though that's a normal way to think, it's not necessarily reasonable: wallets are stolen all the time, regardless of where they're kept. The urge to blame the victim in that scenario stems from the just world fallacy, which is the idea that every action has just consequences. Optimistically, it says everything happens for a reason. But from a more cynical point of view, however, it says you get what you deserve. This isn't true, of course: bad things happen to people who don't deserve it all the time, and vice versa. But this idea seeps into many areas of everyday life, from parental advice to jury verdicts. To avoid making this mistake, stick to the facts, and try not to judge a situation based on information you don't yet have. Learn more about the just world fallacy in the videos below.

Monopoly And The Just World Fallacy

It's why rich people are less generous.

James Is Dead

Taking victim blaming to its logical extremes.

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What Is Right And Wrong?

Explore moral theories with philosopher Uri Leibowitz.

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