Hypocrisy and self-deception

Philosophical Psychology 10 (1):57-75 (1997)
Hypocrites are generally regarded as morally-corrupt, cynical egoists who consciously and deliberately deceive others in order to further their own interests. The purpose of my essay is to present a different view. I argue that hypocrisy typically involves or leads to self-deception and, therefore, that real hypocrites are hard to find. One reason for this merging of hypocrisy into self-deception is that a consistent and conscious deception of society is self-defeating from the point of view of egoistical hypocrites. The best way for them to achieve their ends would be to believe in the deception, thereby not only deceiving others but also themselves. If my thesis is sound, we ought to be more cautious in ascribing hypocrisy to people, and less harsh in our attitude toward hypocrites
Keywords Character  Experiment  Hypocrisy  Science  Self-deception
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DOI 10.1080/09515089708573204
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Judith N. Shklar (1984). Ordinary Vices. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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