On Hubris, Civility, and Incivility

15 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2012 Last revised: 2 May 2012

Date Written: April 26, 2012


Hubris, excessive confidence in one’s own views and conclusions, is a dominant human trait. It comes in many guises and defines common patterns of mistakes. This essay examines several potential meanings of the terms “civility” and “incivility” when hubris influences decision making. Groups in society primarily use the labels “civility” and “incivility” to determine participation in decision making processes. The labels effectively function as exclusion instruments, although they create the appearance of inclusiveness and openness to contrarian views. The essay describes the role of hubris in establishing conformity in groups through the use of “civility” and “incivility” norms. The essay argues that reliance on the labels “civility” and “incivility” could exacerbate group vulnerability to follow the hubris of individuals, and therefore to err.

Keywords: Hubris, Excessive Confidence, Civility, Incivility, Confirmation Bias, Risk Perceptions, Financial Bubbles, Group Delusions, Law and Society

Suggested Citation

Orbach, Barak, On Hubris, Civility, and Incivility (April 26, 2012). 54 Arizona Law Review 443 (2012), Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 12-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2046796

Barak Orbach (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

1201 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tuscon, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-626-7256 (Phone)

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