Self-control and belief

Philosophical Psychology 7 (4):419 – 435 (1994)
Although the extent to which motivational factors are involved in the production and sustaining of biased or 'irrational' beliefs continues to be a controversial issue in social psychology, even those who urge that such beliefs are often explained by non-motivational tendencies admit that biased beliefs sometimes have motivational sources. Sometimes toe are influenced by motivational pressures in ways proscribed by principles that we accept for belief-acquisition or belief-revision ('doxastic' principles). Many garden-variety instances of self-deception are cases in point. We are not always helpless victims of those pressures, however. This paper examines the nature of doxastic self-control (roughly, a capacity to counteract motivational pressures that incline us to acquire or retain beliefs that would violate our doxastic principles) and explores our prospects for avoiding motivationally biased believing by exercising self-control.
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DOI 10.1080/09515089408573134
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