On the function of self‐deception

European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):846-863 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Self-deception makes best sense as a self-defensive mechanism by which the self protects itself from painful reality. Hence, we typically imagine self-deceivers as people who cause themselves to believe as true what they want to be true. Some self-deceivers, however, end up believing what they do not want to be true. Their behaviour can be explained on the hypothesis that the function of this behaviour is protecting the agent's perceived focal benefit at the cost of inflicting short-term harm, which is a basis for a unified account of the phenomenon. In this paper, I argue that this view is narrow. Cases of altruistic, benevolent, and even self-punishing self-deception also exist. There, the function is not the self-deceiver's benefit. In fact, self-deception may have no function at all. Therefore, I put forward a novel account that analyses the function of self-deception on a case-by-case basis.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,642

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Form and Function of Self-Deception.David Livingstone Smith - 2013 - Sistemi Intelligenti 25 (3):565-579.
Do the self-deceived get what they want?Eric Funkhouser - 2005 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (3):295-312.
The uses of self-deception.Howard Rachlin & Marvin Frankel - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):124-125.
Emotion and Desire in Self-Deception.Alfred R. Mele - 2003 - In Anthony Hatzimoysis (ed.), Philosophy and the Emotions. Cambridge University Press. pp. 163-179.
Philosophy of Self Deception.Patrizia Pedrini - 2012 - Humana Mente 5 (20).
Emotion and Desire in Self-Deception.Alfred R. Mele - 2003 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 52:163-179.
Is self-deception an effective non-cooperative strategy?Eric Funkhouser - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (2):221-242.
Instantaneous self-deception.Maiya Jordan - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (2):176-201.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-09-30

Downloads
65 (#86,957)

6 months
698 (#24,952)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Vladimir Krstic
United Arab Emirates University

Citations of this work

A Functional Analysis of Human Deception.Vladimir Krstić - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-19.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Self-Deception Unmasked.Alfred R. Mele - 2001 - Princeton University Press.
The evolution of misbelief.Ryan McKay & Daniel Dennett - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):493–510; discussion 510–61.
Seeing Through Self-Deception.Annette Barnes - 1997 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Content in Simple Signalling Systems.Nicholas Shea, Peter Godfrey-Smith & Rosa Cao - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1009-1035.

View all 30 references / Add more references