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People are natural skeptics…

People are natural skeptics, but speak in shortcuts that seem categorical but are not; when they say “bureaucrats don’t have courage” they mean “a high percentage of bureaucrats don’t have courage”, which is why proverbs and aphorisms are heuristic and economical, held to be imperfect approximations.
On the other hand, when an academic writes the overly hedged statement “it appears that under some conditions, there have been historically a high percentage of bureaucrats who did not prove have courage”, he generally truly believes that “all bureaucrats don’t have courage”.
I am writing this because Aaron Haspel and I noticed that when I write the aphorism “most bureaucrats don’t have courage” it is transmitted and repeated in its shorter version: “bureaucrats don’t have courage”. Many of the nitpickers on the web are after the straw man of “generalization” when a heuristic is not categorical.

via Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

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