Addiction and Self-Deception: A Method for Self-Control?

Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (3):305-319 (2010)
Abstract
Neil Levy argues that while addicts who believe they are not addicts are self-deceived, addicts who believe they are addicts are just as self-deceived. Such persons accept a false belief that their addictive behaviour involves a loss of control. This paper examines two implications of Levy's discussion: that accurate self-knowledge may be particularly difficult for addicts; and that an addict's self-deceived belief that they cannot control themselves may aid their attempts at self-control. I argue that the self-deceived beliefs of addicts in denial and of self-described addicts differ in kind. Unlike the self-deception of an addict in denial, that of the self-described addict allows them to acknowledge their behaviour. As such, it may aid an addict to develop more self-control. A paradoxical implication is that this self-deception may allow an addict more self-knowledge
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