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The Belief in a Just World

A Fundamental Delusion

  • Book
  • © 1980


Part of the book series: Critical Issues in Social Justice (CISJ)

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Table of contents (12 chapters)


About this book

The "belief in a just world" is an attempt to capmre in a phrase one of the ways, if not the way, that people come to terms with-make sense out of-find meaning in, their experiences. We do not believe that things just happen in our world; there is a pattern to events which conveys not only a sense of orderli­ ness or predictability, but also the compelling experience of appropriateness ex­ pressed in the typically implicit judgment, "Yes, that is the way it should be." There are probably many reasons why people discover or develop a view of their environment in which events occur for good, understandable reasons. One explanation is simply that this view of reality is a direct reflection of the way both the human mind and the environment are constructed. Constancies, patterns which actually do exist in the environment-out there-are perceived, represented symbolically, and retained in the mind. This approach cenainly has some validity, and would probably suffice, if it were not for thatsense of "appropriateness," the pervasive affective com­ ponent in human experience. People have emotions and feelings, and these are especially apparent in their expectations about their world: their hopes, fears, disappointments, disillusionment, surprise, confidence, trust, despondency, anticipation-and certainly their sense of right, wrong, good, bad, ought, en­ titled, fair, deserving, just.

Authors and Affiliations

  • University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

    Melvin J. Lerner

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Belief in a Just World

  • Book Subtitle: A Fundamental Delusion

  • Authors: Melvin J. Lerner

  • Series Title: Critical Issues in Social Justice

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer New York, NY

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive

  • Copyright Information: Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-306-40495-5Published: 30 September 1980

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-1-4899-0450-8Published: 25 May 2013

  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4899-0448-5Published: 29 June 2013

  • Series ISSN: 1572-1906

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVI, 210

  • Topics: Personality and Social Psychology, Sociology, general

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