Self-deception and self-knowledge

Philosophical Studies 162 (2):379-400 (2013)
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The aim of this paper is to provide an account of a certain variety of self-deception based on a model of self-knowledge. According to this model, one thinks that one has a belief on the basis of one’s grounds for that belief. If this model is correct, then our thoughts about which beliefs we have should be in accordance with our grounds for those beliefs. I suggest that the relevant variety of self deception is a failure of self-knowledge wherein the subject violates this epistemic obligation. I argue that construing this type of self-deception as a failure of selfknowledge explains two important aspects of it: The tension that we observe between the subject’s speech and her actions, and our inclination to hold the subject responsible for her condition. I compare this proposal with two other approaches to self-deception in the literature; intentionalism and motivationalism. Intentionalism explains the two aspects of self-deception but it runs into the so called ‘paradoxes’ of self-deception. Motivationalism avoids those paradoxes but it cannot explain the two aspects of self-deception.



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Jordi Fernandez
University of Adelaide

Citations of this work

Self-Deception.Ian Deweese-Boyd - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
On the Function of Self‐Deception.Vladimir Krstić - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):846-863.
An Agentive Non-Intentionalist Theory of Self-Deception.Kevin Lynch - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):779-798.
The Role of Pretense in the Process of Self-Deception.Xintong Wei - 2020 - Philosophical Explorations 23 (1):1-14.

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The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Varieties of Reference.Louise M. Antony - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):275.
Self-Deception Unmasked.Alfred R. Mele - 2001 - Princeton University Press.
An Internalist Externalism.William P. Alston - 1988 - Synthese 74 (3):265 - 283.
Reasons and Knowledge.Marshall Swain - 1981 - Cornell University Press.

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