Ritual, Self-deception and Make-Believe: a Classical Buddhist Perspective

Everyone, with the possible exception of those who are really good at it, is personally familiar with the phenomenon of self-deception. Anyone who has been conscious of struggling with a temptation to do what goes against her own better judgment and has then found justification for yielding to temptation is familiar with self-deception. So if I may be allowed to begin with the assumption that most of us have experienced a phenomenon that we would identify as some form of self-deception, what I shall try to do in this paper is to examine how one particular theory of personal identity can account for the phenomenon. Having done that, I shall look into the question of one of the mechanisms of self-deception and then into the question of whether there are occasions in which the mechanisms of self-deception may be regarded as producing more positive results.
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