No-self, real self, ignorance and self-deception: Does self-deception require a self?

Asian Philosophy 8 (2):103 – 110 (1998)
In this paper I dispute Eliot Deutsch's claim [See Deutsch, Eliot (1996) Self-deception: a comparative study, in: Roger T. Ames and Wimal Dissanayake (Eds) Self and Deception: a cross-cultural enquiry (Albany, State University of New York Press), pp. 315-326] that examining self-deception from the perspective of non-Western traditions (i.e. how it is understood in those cultures) can help us to better understand the nature of the phenomenon in one's own culture. Although the claim appears to be uncontrover-sial and perhaps even self-evident, I shall argue that it is fundamentally mistaken. What is important about both the claim and my critical assessment of it is not what it tells us about self-deception. I shall show that it tells us little about self-deception; that Deutsch confuses ignorance with self-deception; and that he straightforwardly equivocates on the concept. Instead, what is interesting is what Deutsch's treatment of self-deception in comparative perspective can tell us about comparative philosophy. The significance of what follows in this paper is less about self-deception than it is about comparative philosophy.
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