David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Consciousness and Cognition 19 (3):731-744 (2010)
Self-deception is a special kind of motivational dominance in belief-formation. We develop criteria which set paradigmatic self-deception apart from related phenomena of automanipulation such as pretense and motivational bias. In self-deception rational subjects defend or develop beliefs of high subjective importance in response to strong counterevidence. Self-deceivers make or keep these beliefs tenable by putting prima-facie rational defense-strategies to work against their established standards of rational evaluation. In paradigmatic self-deception, target-beliefs are made tenable via reorganizations of those belief-sets that relate relevant data to target-beliefs. This manipulation of the evidential value of relevant data goes beyond phenomena of motivated perception of data. In self-deception belief-defense is pseudo-rational. Self-deceivers will typically apply a dual standard of evaluation that remains intransparent to the subject. The developed model of self-deception as pseudo-rational belief-defense is empirically anchored.
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