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Sustained discussions of self-deception before the 1960s are difficult to find, with notable exceptions including Bishop Butler’s sermon ‘Upon Self-Deceit’ (1914), and Jean-Paul Sartre’s discussion of the related notion of ‘bad faith’ in Being and Nothingness (1956). Interest then took off in the 1960s and 70s, mainly prompted by the perception that the idea of self-deception is paradoxical. Key questions discussed in this period were whether and how self-deception is possible. In subsequent decades the reality of self-deception has tended to be taken for granted. Two fundamental questions that still preoccupy philosophers are what is the state of being self-deceived, and what is the process that gets us into and maintains us in that state. Other questions concern the moral implications and consequences of self-deception, the differences between self-deception and kindred phenomena, whether self-deception is an evolutionary adaptation, and whether it is good for us or makes us happy. A large literature from psychology is also highly relevant to this topic and is not covered in this database, which can generally be found under the heading of ‘motivated reasoning’ or ‘motivated cognition’ in the social psychology journals. Early philosophical work on self-deception did not engage much with this empirical literature, though from the 1980s onwards interdisciplinary work has become increasingly common.

Key works Donald Davidson's early papers on self-deception and irrationality, found in his 2004 collection, were much discussed, as was David Pears' 1984 book. An influential early collection of papers is McLaughlin & Rorty 1988. Important elaborations of the 'deflationary' approach are Barnes 1997 and Mele 2001.    
Introductions Encyclopedia articles on self-deception include Deweese-Boyd 2006, Kirsch 2007 (which is more focused on self-deception and morality) and Van Leeuwen 2013Baghramian & Nicholson 2013 and Mele 1987 are relevant survey articles. 
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  1. Jonathan E. Adler (2002). Akratic Believing? Philosophical Studies 110 (1):1 - 27.
    Davidson's account of weakness of will depends upon a parallel that he draws between practical and theoretical reasoning. I argue that the parallel generates a misleading picture of theoretical reasoning. Once the misleading picture is corrected, I conclude that the attempt to model akratic belief on Davidson's account of akratic action cannot work. The arguments that deny the possibility of akratic belief also undermine, more generally, various attempts to assimilate theoretical to practical reasoning.
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  2. Roger T. Ames & Wimal Dissanayake (eds.) (1996). Self and Deception: A Cross-Cultural Philosophical Enquiry. Albany: SUNY Press.
    This volume contains essays by a range of distinguished philosophers on the problem of self-deception, or rather, self and deception.
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  3. Sophie Archer (2013). Nondoxasticism About Self‐Deception. Dialectica 67 (3):265-282.
    The philosophical difficulties presented by <span class='Hi'>self-deception</span> are vexed and multifaceted. One such difficulty is what I call the ‘doxastic problem’ of <span class='Hi'>self-deception</span>. Solving the doxastic problem involves determining whether someone in a state of <span class='Hi'>self-deception</span> that ∼p both believes that p and believes that ∼p, simply holds one or the other belief, or, as I will argue, holds neither. This final option, which has been almost entirely overlooked to-date, is what I call ‘<span class='Hi'>nondoxasticism</span>’ <span class='Hi'>about</span> <span (...)
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  4. Robert Audi (1997). Self-Deception Vs. Self-Caused Deception: A Comment on Professor Mele. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):104-104.
    Mele's study of philosophical and psychological theories of self-deception informatively links the conceptual and dynamic aspects of self-deception and explicates it without positing mutually inconsistent beliefs, such as those occurring in two-person deception. It is argued, however, that he does not do full justice to the dissociation characteristic of self-deception and does not sufficiently distinguish self-deception from self-caused deception.
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  5. Robert Audi (1989). Self-Deception and Practical Reasoning. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):247 - 266.
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  6. Robert Audi (1988). Self-Deception, Rationalization, and Reasons for Acting. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Amelie O. Rorty (eds.), Perspectives on Self-Deception. University of California Press 92--120.
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  7. Robert N. Audi (1982). Self-Deception, Action, and Will. Erkenntnis 18 (September):133-158.
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  8. Robert N. Audi (1976). Epistemic Disavowals and Self-Deception. Personalist 57 (4):378-385.
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  9. Kent Bach (2009). Self-Deception. In Brian McLaughlin, Ansgar Beckermann & Sven Walter (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. OUP Oxford
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  10. Kent Bach (1985). More on Self-Deception: Reply to Hellman. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 45 (June):611-614.
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  11. Kent Bach (1981). An Analysis of Self-Deception. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 41 (March):351-370.
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  12. Maria Baghramian & Anna Nicholson (2013). The Puzzle of Self‐Deception. Philosophy Compass 8 (11):1018-1029.
    It is commonly accepted that people can, and regularly do, deceive themselves. Yet closer examination reveals a set of conceptual puzzles that make self-deception difficult to explain. Applying the conditions for other-deception to self-deception generates what are known as the ‘paradoxes’ of belief and intention. Simply put, the central problem is how it is possible for me to believe one thing, and yet intentionally cause myself to simultaneously believe its contradiction. There are two general approaches taken by philosophers to account (...)
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  13. Carla Bagnoli (2012). Self-Deception: A Constructivist Account. Humana.Mente 20:93-116.
    This paper takes a constitutivist approach to self-deception, and argues that this phenomenon should be evaluated under several dimensions of rationality. The constitutivist approach has the merit of explaining the selective nature of self-deception as well as its being subject to moral sanction. Self-deception is a pragmatic strategy for maintaining the stability of the self, hence continuous with other rational activities of self-constitution. However, its success is limited, and it costs are high: it protects the agent’s self by undermining the (...)
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  14. Annette C. Baier (1996). The Vital but Dangerous Art of Ignoring: Selective Attention and Self-Deception. In Roger T. Ames & Wimal Dissanayake (eds.), Self and Deception: A Cross-Cultural Philosophical Enquiry. Albany: SUNY Press
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  15. Annette Barnes (1997). Seeing Through Self-Deception. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    What is it to deceive someone? And how is it possible to deceive oneself? Does self-deception require that people be taken in by a deceitful strategy that they know is deceitful? The literature is divided between those who argue that self-deception is intentional and those who argue that it is non-intentional. In this study, Annette Barnes offers a challenge to both the standard characterisation of other-deception and current characterizations of self-deception, examining the available explanations and exploring such questions as (...)
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  16. Marcia Baron (1988). What is Wrong with Self-Deception. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Amelie O. Rorty (eds.), Perspectives on Self-Deception. University of California Press 431--449.
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  17. David Barrett & Eric Funkhouser (forthcoming). Robust, Unconscious Self-Deception: Strategic and Flexible. Philosophical Psychology:1-15.
    In recent years deflationary accounts of self-deception, under the banner of motivationalism, have proven popular. On these views the deception at work is simply a motivated bias. In contrast, we argue for an account of self-deception that involves more robustly deceptive unconscious processes. These processes are strategic, flexible, and demand some retention of the truth. We offer substantial empirical support for unconscious deceptive processes that run counter to certain philosophical and psychological claims that the unconscious is rigid, ballistic, and of (...)
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  18. José Luis Bermúdez (2000). Self-Deception, Intentions, and Contradictory Beliefs. Analysis 60 (4):309 - 319.
    Self-deception, intentions, and contradictory beliefs -/- Philosophical accounts of self-deception can be divided into two broadgroups – the intentionalist and the anti-intentionalist. On intentionalist models what happens in the central cases of self-deception is parallel to what happens when one person intentionally deceives another, except that deceiver and deceived are the same person. This paper offers a positive argument for intentionalism about self-deception and defends the view against standard objections.
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  19. Alexander Bird (1994). Rationality and the Structure of Self-Deception. In European Review of Philosophy, Volume 1: Philosophy of Mind. Stanford: CSLI Publications 19-38.
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  20. Roland Bluhm (2010). Wishful Hope. In Janet Horrigan & Ed Wiltse (eds.), Hope Against Hope: Philosophies, Cultures and Politics of Possibility and Doubt. Rodopi 35-53.
    The paper aims at characterising self-deceptive hope, a certain kind of ir-rational hoping. The focus is on ordinary, intentional hope exclusively, i. e. on acts of hoping with a definite object (in contrast to dispositional forms of hope such as hopefulness). If a person S hopes in this way that p, she desires that p, she has a belief about the probability of p, and she affec-tively evaluates this probability in one of two ways: We can distinguish between anxious and (...)
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  21. Montserrat Bordes (2001). Motivated Irrationality: The Case of Self-Deception (Irracionalidad Motivada: El Caso Del Autoengaño). Critica 33 (97):3 - 32.
    This paper inquires into the conceptual nature of self-deception. I shall afford a theory which links SD to wishful thinking. First I present two rival models for the analysis of SD, and suggest reasons why the interpersonal model is flawed. It is necessary for supporters of this model to work out a strategy that avoids the ascription of inconsistency to the self-deceiver in order to fulfill the requirements of the charity principle. Some objections to the compartmentalization strategy are put forward, (...)
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  22. Steffen Borge (2003). The Myth of Self-Deception. Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):1-28.
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  23. Rachel Brown (2004). The Emplotted Self: Self-Deception and Self-Knowledge. Philosophical Papers 32 (3):279-300.
    Abstract The principal aim of this paper is to give a positive analysis of self-deception. I argue that self-deception is a species ?self-emplotment?. Through narrative self-emplotment one groups the events of one's life thematically in order to understand and monitor oneself. I argue that self-emplotment is an unextraordinary feature of mental life that is a precondition of agency. Self-emplotment, however, proceeds according to certain norms, some of which provide apparent justification for self-deceptive activity. A secondary aim of the paper is (...)
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  24. Steven Burns (2004). Alfred R. Mele, Self-Deception Unmasked. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 24:215-216.
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  25. David Burrell & Stanley Hauerwas (1974). Self-Deception and Autobiography: Theological and Ethical Reflections on Speer's "Inside the Third Reich". Journal of Religious Ethics 2 (1):99 - 117.
    Albert Speer's life offers a paradigm of self-deception, and his autobiography serves to illustrate Fingarette's account of self-deception as a persistent failure to spell out our engagements in the world. Using both Speer and Fingarette, we show how self-deception becomes our lot as the stories we adopt to shape our lives cover up what is destructive in our activity. Had Speer not settled for the neutral label of "architect," he might have found a story substantive enough to allow him to (...)
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  26. Joseph Butler & W. R. Matthews (1914). Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel ; and, a Dissertation Upon the Nature of Virtue. Bell.
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  27. John V. Canfield & Don F. Gustavson (1962). Self-Deception. Analysis 23 (December):32-36.
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  28. John V. Canfield & Patrick Mcnally (1961). Paradoxes of Self-Deception. Analysis 21 (June):140-144.
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  29. T. Champlin (1986). Mike W. Martin, Ed., Self-Deception and Self-Understanding. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 6:76-79.
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  30. T. S. Champlin (1988). Reflexive Paradoxes. Routledge.
    Introduction At some point in your life you will have told a lie and have been believed. You will have deceived the person to whom you lied. ...
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  31. T. S. Champlin (1984). Self-Deception in Second-Rate English. Philosophy 59 (228):259 - 261.
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  32. T. S. Champlin (1977). Self-Deception: A Reflexive Dilemma. Philosophy 52 (201):281 - 299.
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  33. T. Stephen Champlin (1994). Deceit, Deception and the Self-Deceiver. Philosophical Investigations 17 (1):53-58.
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  34. T. Stephen Champlin (1979). Self-Deception: A Problem About Autobiography. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 77:77-94.
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  35. T. Stephen Champlin (1976). Double Deception. Mind 85 (January):100-102.
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  36. Reena Cheruvalath (2012). Analyzing the Concept of Self-Deception in Indian Cultural Context. Cultura 9 (1):195-204.
    It is proposed to examine the need for redefining self deception in an Indian socio-cultural context and also on the basis of different social roles that one plays in his/her life time. Self-deception can be defined as the process of acting or behaving against one’s true inner feelings to maintain one’s social status. The conceptconsists of two aspects: maintaining a belief and the behavioral expression of it. Most of the time, deception occurs in the latter part, because it helps the (...)
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  37. J. Church (1988). Pears, D., "Motivated Irrationality". [REVIEW] Mind 97:471.
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  38. J. Thomas Cook (1987). Deciding to Believe Without Self-Deception. Journal of Philosophy 84 (August):441-446.
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  39. Vasco Correia (2014). From Self-Deception to Self-Control. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):309-323.
    ‘Intentionalist’ approaches portray self-deceivers as “akratic believers”, subjects who deliberately choose to believe p despite knowing that p is false. In this paper I argue that the intentionalist model leads to a number of paradoxes that seem to undermine it. I claim that these paradoxes can nevertheless be overcome in light of the rival hypothesis that self-deception is a non-intentional process that stems from the influence of emotions upon cognitive processes. Furthermore, I propose a motivational interpretation of the phenomenon of (...)
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  40. Vasco Correia (2007). Une conception émotionnaliste de la self-deception. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):3.
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  41. Dante A. Cosentino (1980). Self-Deception Without Paradox. Philosophy Research Archives 1388:443-465.
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  42. Newton Ca Da Costa & Steven French (1990). Belief, Contradiction and the Logic of Self-Deception. American Philosophical Quarterly 27 (3):179-197.
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  43. Tyler Cowen, Self-Deception as the Root of Political Failure.
    I consider models of political failure based on self-deception. Individuals discard free information when that information damages their self-image and thus lowers their utility. More specifically, individuals prefer to feel good about their previously chosen affiliations and shape their worldviews accordingly. This model helps explain the relative robustness of political failure in light of extensive free information, and it helps to explain the rarity of truth-seeking behavior in political debate. The comparative statics predictions differ from models of either Downsian or (...)
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  44. Lisa Damm (2011). Self-Deception About Emotion. Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (3):254-270.
    In this paper, I address an ignored topic in the literature on self-deception—instances in which one is self-deceived about their emotions. Most discussions of emotion and self-deception address either the contributory role of emotion to instances of self-deception involving beliefs or assume what I argue is an outdated view of emotion according to which emotions just are beliefs or some other type of propositional attitude. In order to construct an account of self-deception about emotion, I draw a distinction between two (...)
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  45. Charles B. Daniels (1974). Self-Deception and Interpersonal Deception. Personalist 55 (3):244-252.
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  46. Stephen L. Darwall (1988). Self-Deception, Autonomy, and Moral Constitution. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Amelie O. Rorty (eds.), Perspectives on Self-Deception. University of California Press 407--430.
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  47. Donald Davidson (2004). Problems of Rationality. Oxford University Press.
    Problems of Rationality is the eagerly awaited fourth volume of Donald Davidson 's philosophical writings. From the 1960s until his death in August 2003 Davidson was perhaps the most influential figure in English-language philosophy, and his work has had a profound effect upon the discipline. His unified theory of the interpretation of thought, meaning, and action holds that rationality is a necessary condition for both mind and interpretation. Davidson here develops this theory to illuminate value judgements and how we understand (...)
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  48. Ronald De Sousa (1988). Emotion and Self-Deception. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Amelie O. Rorty (eds.), Perspectives on Self-Deception. University of California Press
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  49. Ronald B. de Sousa (1978). Self-Deceptive Emotions. Journal of Philosophy 75 (November):684-697.
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  50. Raphael Demos (1960). Lying to Oneself. Journal of Philosophy 57 (18):588-595.
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