David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Human beings are masters of deception if they want to appear superior to others and to suggest that they have everything under control (see, e.g., Fingarette 2000, Mele 2000). Such self-delusions might be advantageous, because those are the most successful liars who believe their own lies. Although it seems paradoxical at first (for he who does not tell the untruth intentionally is, strictly speaking, not a liar at all), it rests upon a much more radical self-deception which is quite useful â€“ a systematic and continuous illusion regarding ourselves. Higher-order forms of self-consciousness, namely I-consciousness, are based on a feature which is called a self-model. This is an episodically active representational entity (e.g. a complex activation pattern in a human brain), the contents of which are properties of the system itself. It is embedded and constantly updated in a global model of the world, based on perceptions, memories, innate information etc. (Metzinger 1993). But because self-models cannot represent their own representations as their own representations as their own representations and so on ad infinitum, they are semantically transparent, i.e. on the level of their content they do not contain the information that they are models. Thus, such systems are not able to recognize their self-model as a self-model (Van Gulick 1988). The result is an ego-illusion, which is stable, coherent, and cannot be transcended on the level of conscious experience itself.
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