Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 18 (1-2):146-151 (2013)

Neil Van Leeuwen
Georgia State University
Here I review Robert Trivers' 2011 book _The Folly of Fools_, in which he advocates the evolutionary theory of deceit and self-deception that he pioneered in his famous preface to Richard Dawkins' _Selfish Gene_. Although the book contains a wealth of interesting discussion on topics ranging from warfare to immunology, I find it lacking on two major fronts. First, it fails to give a proper argument for its central thesis--namely, that self-deception evolved to facilitate deception of others. Second, the book lacks conceptual clarity with respect to the focal term "self-deception."
Keywords self-deception  deception  Trivers  belief  evolution  natural selection  adaptation  delusion  evolutionary psychology  bias
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Self-Deception Vs. Self-Caused Deception: A Comment on Professor Mele.Robert Audi - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):104-104.
Self-Deceived About Self-Deception: An Evolutionary Analysis.Mario Heilmann - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):116-117.
Self-Deception Won't Make You Happy.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2009 - Social Theory and Practice 35 (1):107-132.
Understanding and Explaining Real Self-Deception.Alfred R. Mele - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):127-134.
Deceit, Deception and the Self‐Deceiver.T. Stephen Champlin - 1994 - Philosophical Investigations 17 (1):53-58.
The Philosophy of Deception.Clancy Martin (ed.) - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
The Uses of Self-Deception.Howard Rachlin & Marvin Frankel - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):124-125.
Seeing Through Self-Deception.Annette Barnes - 1997 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Self-Deception.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.


Added to PP index

Total views
605 ( #11,758 of 2,455,402 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #27,750 of 2,455,402 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes