From Self-Deception to Self-Control: Emotional Biases and the Virtues of Precommitment

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):309-323 (2014)

Authors
Vasco Correia
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Abstract
‘Intentionalist’ approaches portray self-deceivers as “akratic believers”, subjects who deliberately choose to believe p despite knowing that p is false. In this paper, I argue that the intentionalist model leads to a series of paradoxes that seem to undermine it. I show that these paradoxes can nevertheless be overcome if we accept the hypothesis that self-deception is a non-intentional process that stems from the influence of emotions on judgment. Furthermore, I propose a motivational interpretation of the phenomenon of ‘hyperbolic discounting bias’, highlighting the role of emotional biases in akratic behavior. Finally, I argue thatwe are not the helpless victims of our irrational attitudes, insofar as we have the ability—and arguably the epistemic obligation—to counteract motivational biases.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 1333-1108
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