History Main / OriginalPositionFallacy

11th Aug '16 2:40:41 PM intastiel
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* Invoked in one of Creator/IsaacAsimov's essays, quoting a dialogue at a social function. See page quote above.

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* Invoked in one Creator/IsaacAsimov was acutely aware of Creator/IsaacAsimov's essays, quoting a dialogue at a social function. See this phenomenon, both when [[NostalgiaAintLikeItUsedToBe selectively]] pining for the Good Old Days and when imagining the societies of the future.
** The
page quote above.above, spoken at a dinner function, was later incorporated into one of Asimov's essays as an example.
** The short story "The Winnowing" describes a global food shortage which the World Food Council intends to remedy by poisoning the most famine-struck areas -- all of them comfortably distant from their own homes -- with a biological agent that would kill 70% of the population at random. Their high-minded platitudes about "the finger of God" selecting the victims evaporate when the scientist they blackmailed into assisting reveals that he added the agent to their lunch buffet.
9th Aug '16 1:03:02 AM Chariset
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Of course, it is also possible that the mayor -- who ''did'' know the outcome and ''could'' assign the menu options -- steered Bob into making a choice that was worse for him, perhaps to damn him by his own words. Call it an "Original Position Gambit" if you will. This trope is also one of the places where OffTheTable doesn't shift sympathy away from the person who refuses to extend the offer. ("Oh, Bob wants to make a more generous division ''now''? Too bad").

to:

Of course, it is also possible that the mayor -- who ''did'' know the outcome and ''could'' assign the menu options -- steered Bob into making a choice that was worse for him, perhaps to damn him by his own words. Call it an "Original Position Gambit" if you will. This trope is also one of the places where OffTheTable doesn't shift sympathy away from the person who refuses to extend re-extend the offer. ("Oh, Bob wants to make a more generous division ''now''? Too bad").



* Happens quite a lot in fairy tales. The usual scenario is that at the wedding of the female protagonist (usually the maltreated good daughter of a bad family), the king will ask whoever tormented her (the stepmother, the stepsister, etc.) the proper punishment for a series of crimes (these crimes inevitably being the ones they did to the protagonist). The evil characters, who invariably fail to see the trap, suggest a horrible punishment (e.g. "They should be put into red hot iron shoes and forced to dance until dead"), which is promptly done to them.

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* Happens quite a lot in fairy tales. The usual scenario is that at the wedding of the long-suffering female protagonist (usually the maltreated good daughter of a bad family), protagonist, the king will ask whoever tormented her (the stepmother, the stepsister, etc.) what the proper punishment should be for a series of crimes (these crimes inevitably being the ones they did to the protagonist). her). The evil characters, who invariably characters almost always fail to see the trap, trap and callously suggest a horrible punishment (e.g. "They should be put into red hot iron shoes and forced to dance until dead"), which is promptly done to them.


Added DiffLines:

* Shirley Jackson's townspeople in "Literature/TheLottery" are perfectly fine with the annual LotteryOfDoom that will end in a HumanSacrifice (it's traditional!). Only the victim protests, and even then only when it becomes clear that ''her'' life is at stake.
7th Jul '16 11:39:20 AM ANewEnigma
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Imagine that Bob attends a banquet for 200 people at the mayor's house. When he arrives, he is informed that they made an error when ordering the food -- there is enough steak for the first 100 guests, but everyone else will have to make do with vegetables. Bob, looking around and seeing the room less than half full, says he thinks this is fair. Only afterward does he see the ''second'' dining room, filled up with people who arrived earlier, and realize that he isn't going to be in the group that gets a full dinner

to:

Imagine that Bob attends a banquet for 200 people at the mayor's house. When he arrives, he is informed that they made an error when ordering the food -- there is enough steak for the first 100 guests, but everyone else will have to make do with vegetables. Bob, looking around and seeing the room less than half full, says he thinks this is fair. Only afterward does he see the ''second'' dining room, filled up with people who arrived earlier, and realize that he isn't going to be in the group that gets a full dinner
dinner.
17th Feb '16 2:54:27 PM Jacob175
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* In the MutantChronicles book ''Ilian'', there are two short-stories on this theme. Humans who joined [[ReligionOfEvil the cult of Ilian]] because they wanted to become the exploiters rather then the exploited. And of course, their futures are ''so'' bright, since Ilian will smile upon them forever... until they fail or get backstabbed by each other, that is. Suckers.

to:

* In the MutantChronicles TabletopGame/MutantChronicles book ''Ilian'', there are two short-stories on this theme. Humans who joined [[ReligionOfEvil the cult of Ilian]] because they wanted to become the exploiters rather then the exploited. And of course, their futures are ''so'' bright, since Ilian will smile upon them forever... until they fail or get backstabbed by each other, that is. Suckers.



* People who like to use the phrase "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs" rarely volunteer themselves to be the "eggs" to be "broken", or even consider the possibility.

to:

* People who like to use the phrase "You can't make an omelet "YouCantMakeAnOmelette without breaking a few eggs" rarely volunteer themselves to be the "eggs" to be "broken", or even consider the possibility.
6th Feb '16 7:53:51 PM Chariset
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The main upshot of this trope is to show that blind self interest is a bad thing -- Bob shouldn't have been so quick to give "someone else" a steak-less dinner because he was certain ''his'' meal would be fine. If he is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has his vegetables and now he must eat them. (Some uses of this trope begin in Act 2, where Bob is now in the thick of a miserable situation and laments that he used to ''want'' this to happen).

Of course, it is also possible that the mayor -- who ''did'' know the outcome and ''could'' assign the menu options -- steered Bob into making a choice that was worse for him, perhaps to damn him by his own words. Call it an "Original Position Gambit" if you will.

A character doing the Original Position Fallacy may start out as a HellSeeker, end up as a BoomerangBigot or both. If someone pulled the gambit version on him, it was probably a MagnificentBastard skilled in GambitSpeedChess. May also result in a KarmicTransformation; sometimes forms the 'twist' of a KarmicTwistEnding. Contrast WhoWillBellTheCat, where attempts to make a change that would benefit most at the cost of a few are stalled by the fact that no one wants to be "the few."

to:

The main upshot of this trope is to show that blind self interest is a bad thing -- Bob shouldn't have been so quick to give "someone else" a steak-less dinner because he was certain while blithely assuming ''his'' meal would be fine. If he is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has his vegetables and now he must eat them. (Some uses of this trope begin in Act 2, where Bob is now in the thick of a miserable situation and laments that he used to ''want'' this to happen).

Of course, it is also possible that the mayor -- who ''did'' know the outcome and ''could'' assign the menu options -- steered Bob into making a choice that was worse for him, perhaps to damn him by his own words. Call it an "Original Position Gambit" if you will.

will. This trope is also one of the places where OffTheTable doesn't shift sympathy away from the person who refuses to extend the offer. ("Oh, Bob wants to make a more generous division ''now''? Too bad").

A character doing whose thinking falls into the Original Position Fallacy may start out as a HellSeeker, end up as a BoomerangBigot or both. If someone pulled the gambit version on him, it was probably a MagnificentBastard skilled in GambitSpeedChess. May also result in a KarmicTransformation; sometimes forms the 'twist' of a KarmicTwistEnding. Contrast WhoWillBellTheCat, where attempts to make a change that would benefit most at the cost of a few are stalled by the fact that no one wants to be "the few."



** As do most proponents of eugenics throughout history. They always presume that the favorable genes are the ones they themselves possess.
** For a variant, conspiracy theorists tend to think like this, but ''in the present tense.'' They assume that whatever chemical has been fed into the water supply, or whatever radio waves are dumbing down the populace, that ''they'' are somehow immune and therefore able to perceive the truth, and are not one of the "sheeple" that they so deride.

to:

** As do most * Eugenics proponents of eugenics throughout history. They always presume generally assume that the populations which have favorable genes are theirs and the populations which need to die off are not their own (nor anyone they know). Similarly, those who prophesy a Malthusian catastrophe unless the human population level drops (through war, pandemic, or the like) tend to assume that "those other people" will be the ones they themselves possess.
**
to kick off and leave room for everyone else.
*
For a variant, conspiracy theorists tend to think like this, but ''in the present tense.'' They assume that whatever chemical has been fed into the water supply, or whatever radio waves are dumbing down the populace, that ''they'' are somehow immune and therefore able to perceive the truth, and are not one of the "sheeple" that they so deride.
1st Feb '16 11:56:28 PM Chariset
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Imagine that Bob attends a banquet at the mayor's house and is informed that they made an error when ordering the food -- there is enough steak for the first 100 guests, but everyone else will have to make do with vegetables. Bob, looking around and seeing the room less than half full, says he thinks this is fair. Only afterward does he see the ''second'' dining room, filled up with people who arrived earlier, and realize that he isn't going to be in the group that gets a full dinner

to:

Imagine that Bob attends a banquet for 200 people at the mayor's house and house. When he arrives, he is informed that they made an error when ordering the food -- there is enough steak for the first 100 guests, but everyone else will have to make do with vegetables. Bob, looking around and seeing the room less than half full, says he thinks this is fair. Only afterward does he see the ''second'' dining room, filled up with people who arrived earlier, and realize that he isn't going to be in the group that gets a full dinner
1st Feb '16 11:54:38 PM Chariset
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A situation in which Bob is in favor of some action, revolution, or social system because he assumes he will be in the group that benefits from it. A key aspect of this trope is that some will benefit and/or some will suffer, but Bob himself can't control -- or even know -- which persons will fall under which group.

Imagine that Bob longingly reads the description of an aristocracy in Creator/{{Plato}}'s ''Literature/TheRepublic'', where the people are sorted into three classes based on their inherent abilities (described in the book as a soul of gold, for the rulers; silver, for the soldiers; and bronze or iron, for the common working classes). Bob, naturally, imagines that he must have a soul of gold and would be placed in his rightful position as a philosopher king. But if circumstances somehow bring his dream to life, Bob gets a jarring surprise -- he is placed among the bronze/iron souls, fated to serve those who are judged innately superior.

Poor Bob. He would have been wiser to remember the thought experiment from which this trope takes its name: John Rawls' [[Analysis/OriginalPositionFallacy "original position"]], which says that laws made from a position of ignorance about who will fall victim to them are going to be fair -- because they could land on the one who made them. In Plato's aristocracy, for example, maybe 10% of the population would rule: would Bob really support making that the new world order, when he realizes that the odds are only 1 in 10 that he will rule and not serve?

The main upshot of this trope is to show that Bob makes judgments based on blind self interest and this is a bad thing -- he should have remembered that all he had was the power to choose which way he liked best. He ''never'' had the power to choose who would prosper and who would suffer. Nor did his ignorance of the ones who would suffer mean that the sufferers would only be people he ''didn't know''. If he is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has made his bed and now must lie in it. (Some uses of this trope begin in Act 2, where Bob is now in the thick of a miserable situation and laments that he used to ''want'' this to happen).

Of course, it is also possible for another character -- who ''does'' know the outcome and ''can'' assign the rewards and punishments -- to steer Bob into making a choice that will actually harm him, usually to damn him by his own words. Call it an "Original Position Gambit" if you will.

to:

A situation in which Bob is in favor of some action, revolution, or social system because he assumes that he will be in the group that benefits from it. A key aspect of this trope is that some will benefit and/or some will suffer, but Bob himself can't control -- or even know -- which persons will fall under which group.it.

Imagine that Bob longingly reads attends a banquet at the description of mayor's house and is informed that they made an aristocracy in Creator/{{Plato}}'s ''Literature/TheRepublic'', where error when ordering the people are sorted into three classes based on their inherent abilities (described in the book as a soul of gold, food -- there is enough steak for the rulers; silver, for the soldiers; and bronze or iron, for the common working classes). first 100 guests, but everyone else will have to make do with vegetables. Bob, naturally, imagines looking around and seeing the room less than half full, says he thinks this is fair. Only afterward does he see the ''second'' dining room, filled up with people who arrived earlier, and realize that he must have a soul of gold and would isn't going to be placed in his rightful position as a philosopher king. But if circumstances somehow bring his dream to life, Bob the group that gets a jarring surprise -- he is placed among the bronze/iron souls, fated to serve those who are judged innately superior.

full dinner

Poor Bob. He would have been wiser to remember the thought experiment from which this trope takes its name: John Rawls' [[Analysis/OriginalPositionFallacy "original position"]], which says that laws made from a position of ignorance about who will fall victim to them are going to be fair -- good because they will try to benefit the largest number of parties -- after all, when you don't know whether you'll benefit or suffer, you'll want to give yourself the best possible odds. If Bob had remembered this, he might have suggested giving out half portions of steak so that everyone could land on the one who made them. In Plato's aristocracy, for example, maybe 10% of the population would rule: would Bob really support making that the new world order, when have some meat. Unfortunately, he realizes that the odds are only 1 assumed a whole steak was already in 10 that he will rule his possession and not serve?

consequently ended up getting none at all.

The main upshot of this trope is to show that Bob makes judgments based on blind self interest and this is a bad thing -- he should Bob shouldn't have remembered that all been so quick to give "someone else" a steak-less dinner because he had was the power to choose which way he liked best. He ''never'' had the power to choose who certain ''his'' meal would prosper and who would suffer. Nor did his ignorance of the ones who would suffer mean that the sufferers would only be people he ''didn't know''.fine. If he is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has made his bed vegetables and now he must lie in it.eat them. (Some uses of this trope begin in Act 2, where Bob is now in the thick of a miserable situation and laments that he used to ''want'' this to happen).

Of course, it is also possible for another character that the mayor -- who ''does'' ''did'' know the outcome and ''can'' ''could'' assign the rewards and punishments menu options -- to steer steered Bob into making a choice that will actually harm was worse for him, usually perhaps to damn him by his own words. Call it an "Original Position Gambit" if you will.
10th Jan '16 4:20:32 PM Chariset
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The main upshot of this trope is to show that blind self interest is a bad thing -- Bob should have remembered that he does not have the power to apportion the benefits and downsides of the new society he likes so much, nor does the ignorance of the ones who will suffer mean that the sufferers will only be people he ''doesn't know''. If Bob is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has made his bed and now must lie in it.

to:

The main upshot of this trope is to show that Bob makes judgments based on blind self interest and this is a bad thing -- Bob he should have remembered that all he does not have had was the power to apportion choose which way he liked best. He ''never'' had the benefits power to choose who would prosper and downsides of the new society he likes so much, nor does the who would suffer. Nor did his ignorance of the ones who will would suffer mean that the sufferers will would only be people he ''doesn't ''didn't know''. If Bob he is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has made his bed and now must lie in it. (Some uses of this trope begin in Act 2, where Bob is now in the thick of a miserable situation and laments that he used to ''want'' this to happen).
9th Jan '16 9:27:31 PM Chariset
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A situation in which Bob is in favor of some action, revolution, or social system because he assumes he will be in the group that benefits from it. A key aspect of this trope is that some will benefit and/or some will suffer, but Bob himself can't control -- or even know -- which persons will fall under which group.

to:

A situation in which Bob is in favor of some action, revolution, or social system because he assumes he will be in the group that benefits from it. A key aspect of this trope is that some will benefit and/or some will suffer, but Bob himself can't control -- or even know -- which persons will fall under which group.
group.



Poor Bob. He would have been wiser to remember the thought experiment from which this trope takes its name: John Rawls' [[Analysis/OriginalPositionFallacy "original position"]], which says that laws made from a position of ignorance about who will fall victim to them are going to be fair -- because they could land on the one who made them. In Plato's aristocracy, for example, maybe 10% of the population would rule: would Bob really support making that the new world order, when he realizes that the odds are only 1 in 10 that he will rule and not serve?

The main upshot of this trope is to show that blind self interest is a bad thing -- Bob should have remembered that he does ''not'' give him the power to apportion the benefits and downsides of the new society, nor does the ignorance of the ones who will suffer mean that the sufferers will only be people he ''doesn't know''. If Bob is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has made his bed and now must lie in it.

Of course, it is also possible for another character -- who ''does'' know the outcome and ''can'' assign the rewards and punishments -- to steer Bob into making a choice that will actually harm him, usually to damn him by his own words. Call it an "Original Position Gambit" if you will.

A character doing the Original Position Fallacy may start out as a HellSeeker, end up as a BoomerangBigot or both. If someone pulled the gambit version on him, it was probably a MagnificentBastard skilled in GambitSpeedChess. May also result in a KarmicTransformation; sometimes forms the 'twist' of a KarmicTwistEnding. Contrast WhoWillBellTheCat, where attempts to make a change that would benefit most at the cost of a few are stalled by the fact that no one wants to be "the few."

to:

Poor Bob. He would have been wiser to remember the thought experiment from which this trope takes its name: John Rawls' [[Analysis/OriginalPositionFallacy "original position"]], which says that laws made from a position of ignorance about who will fall victim to them are going to be fair -- because they could land on the one who made them. In Plato's aristocracy, for example, maybe 10% of the population would rule: would Bob really support making that the new world order, when he realizes that the odds are only 1 in 10 that he will rule and not serve?

The main upshot of this trope is to show that blind self interest is a bad thing -- Bob should have remembered that he he does ''not'' give him not have the power to apportion the benefits and downsides of the new society, society he likes so much, nor does the ignorance of the ones who will suffer mean that the sufferers will only be people he ''doesn't know''. If Bob is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has made his bed and now must lie in it.

Of course, it is also possible for another character -- who ''does'' know the outcome and ''can'' assign the rewards and punishments -- to steer Bob into making a choice that will actually harm him, usually to damn him by his own words. Call it an "Original Position Gambit" if you will.

A character doing the Original Position Fallacy may start out as a HellSeeker, end up as a BoomerangBigot or both. If someone pulled the gambit version on him, it was probably a MagnificentBastard skilled in GambitSpeedChess. May also result in a KarmicTransformation; sometimes forms the 'twist' of a KarmicTwistEnding. Contrast WhoWillBellTheCat, where attempts to make a change that would benefit most at the cost of a few are stalled by the fact that no one wants to be "the few."
9th Jan '16 9:25:15 PM Chariset
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A situation in which Bob is in favor of some new law, economic system, revolution, etc. because he assumes he will be in the group which benefits from it. A variant is where Bob proposes or supports a cruel deed because he thinks the suffering will land on someone else, not suspecting that it will hit him or someone he cares about.

to:

A situation in which Bob is in favor of some new law, economic system, action, revolution, etc. or social system because he assumes he will be in the group which that benefits from it. it. A variant key aspect of this trope is where Bob proposes or supports a cruel deed because he thinks the suffering that some will land on someone else, not suspecting that it benefit and/or some will hit him suffer, but Bob himself can't control -- or someone he cares about.
even know -- which persons will fall under which group.



Poor Bob. He would have been wiser to remember the thought experiment from which this trope takes its name: John Rawls' [[Analysis/OriginalPositionFallacy "original position"]], which says that the only just laws are those made from a theoretical position of complete ignorance about who will benefit and who will suffer from them. No one in the original position would ever want to instate Plato's aristocracy, after all, since it says only a few will rule and most will serve.

If Bob is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has made his bed and now must lie in it.

If another character actively manipulated Bob into his predicament, this trope [[Administrivia/InternalSubtrope could be called]] an "Original Position Gambit".

A character doing the Original Position Fallacy may start out as a HellSeeker, end up as a BoomerangBigot or both. If someone pulled the gambit version on him, it was probably a MagnificentBastard skilled in GambitSpeedChess. May also result in a KarmicTransformation.

to:

Poor Bob. He would have been wiser to remember the thought experiment from which this trope takes its name: John Rawls' [[Analysis/OriginalPositionFallacy "original position"]], which says that the only just laws are those made from a theoretical position of complete ignorance about who will benefit and fall victim to them are going to be fair -- because they could land on the one who will suffer from them. No one in the original position would ever want to instate made them. In Plato's aristocracy, after all, since it says for example, maybe 10% of the population would rule: would Bob really support making that the new world order, when he realizes that the odds are only a few 1 in 10 that he will rule and most not serve?

The main upshot of this trope is to show that blind self interest is a bad thing -- Bob should have remembered that he does ''not'' give him the power to apportion the benefits and downsides of the new society, nor does the ignorance of the ones who
will serve.

suffer mean that the sufferers will only be people he ''doesn't know''. If Bob is fortunate, it will turn out to be AllJustADream, and Bob will have a second chance to approach the topic -- probably with a bit more humility this time. But in many cases it's too late for regrets: Bob has made his bed and now must lie in it.

If Of course, it is also possible for another character actively manipulated -- who ''does'' know the outcome and ''can'' assign the rewards and punishments -- to steer Bob into making a choice that will actually harm him, usually to damn him by his predicament, this trope [[Administrivia/InternalSubtrope could be called]] own words. Call it an "Original Position Gambit".

Gambit" if you will.

A character doing the Original Position Fallacy may start out as a HellSeeker, end up as a BoomerangBigot or both. If someone pulled the gambit version on him, it was probably a MagnificentBastard skilled in GambitSpeedChess. May also result in a KarmicTransformation.KarmicTransformation; sometimes forms the 'twist' of a KarmicTwistEnding. Contrast WhoWillBellTheCat, where attempts to make a change that would benefit most at the cost of a few are stalled by the fact that no one wants to be "the few."
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