Distal versus proximal mechanisms of “real” self-deception

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):120-121 (1997)
Abstract
There is little fear that the concept of motivational bias as proposed by Mele is likely to dampen the current academic ferment (see Mele's Introduction) with respect to self-deception for several reasons: (a) like philosophy, science has more recently abandoned the heuristic of a rational human mind; (b) the concept is parsimonious, applicable to many research topics other than self-deception, and, therefore, scientifically serviceable; (c) as a proximal mechanism it addresses process rather than function, that is, how rather than why questions; (d) it is not as interesting a question as why there is a high prevalence of “real” self-deception (i.e., “garden-variety self-deception” as described by Mele, see sect. 6); and (e) a more penetrating issue is whether “real” self-deception is adaptive.
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