motivated irrationality: the case of self-deception

Montse Bordes
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
This paper inquires into the conceptual nature of self-deception. I shall afford a theory which links SD to wishful thinking. First I present two rival models for the analysis of SD, and suggest reasons why the interpersonal model is flawed. It is necessary for supporters of this model to work out a strategy that avoids the ascription of inconsistency to the self-deceiver in order to fulfill the requirements of the charity principle. Some objections to the compartmentalization strategy are put forward, and a motivational theory is advanced. This theory diverges from Mele (1997)'s account of SD in that it (i) establishes as a necessary condition for SD the existence of a causal link between a desire and a belief unacknowledged by the self-deceived subject, who is unaware also of the counterevidential nature of his belief (the 'focused inferential blindness' thesis), (ii) allows only 'weak SD' cases and offers methodological reasons against the seemingly intentional and dissociative nature of SD and (iii) stresses the deception-SD asymmetry. /// El presente artículo intenta investigar la naturaleza conceptual del autoengaño. Presentaré dos modelos rivales de análisis y ofreceré razones contra la teoría interpersonal frente a la motivacional, alegando las dificultades que comporta seguir alguna de sus estrategias de compartimentación para evitar la atribución de inconsistencia simple al sujeto autoengañado. Defenderé una teoría que vincula el autoengaño con la creencia desiderativa. Se trata de una teoría motivacional que difiere de la de Mele (1997) en que (i) establece como condición necesaria para el autoengaño que se dé una relación causal entre el deseo y la creencia pertinentes, relación cuya existencia desconoce el sujeto, que ignora también el grado en que su creencia es incompatible con los datos empíricamente disponibles (tesis de la ceguera inferencial focalizada), (ii) acepta sólo casos de autoengaño débil y ofrece razones metodológicas contra la supuesta naturaleza intencional y disociativa del autoengaño y (iii) subraya la asimetría autoengaño/engaño
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