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Stupidity is the quality of behaving in a stupid manner, as opposed to behaving with reason, intelligence, or sensibility.

Culturally, stupidity is often conceptualized as a quality inherent in an individual, which is problematic, so it is better to use synonyms where possible.

More realistically and practically, it encompasses universal epistemic stumbling-blocks such as motivated reasoning and other cognitive biases.


"Against stupidity, the very gods themselves contend in vain." — Friedrich Schiller




  • 2018-11-16 ableist language (thread) (h/t for suggesting several of the adjectives here)
  • 2016-01-19 One crucial word: "amathia"; also goes into multiple German words typically translated as "stupidity"
  • Bonhoeffer on stupidity (entire quote): "Taken from a circular letter, addressing many topics, written to three friends and co-workers in the conspiracy against Hitler, on the tenth anniversary of Hitler's accession to the chancellorship of Germany." «Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless.»