From self-deception to self-control

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):309-323 (2014)
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‘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 number of paradoxes that seem to undermine it. I claim that these paradoxes can nevertheless be overcome in light of the rival hypothesis that self-deception is a non-intentional process that stems from the influence of emotions upon cognitive processes. Furthermore, I propose a motivational interpretation of the phenomenon of ‘hyperbolic discounting bias’ which highlights the role of emotional biases in akratic behavior. Finally, I argue that we are not the helpless victims of our irrational attitudes, insofar as we have the ability – and arguably the epistemic obligation – to counteract motivational biases.
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Philosophical Investigations.Wittgenstein, Ludwig
The Evolution of Misbelief.McKay, Ryan T. & Dennett, Daniel C.
Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment.Gilovich, Thomas; Griffin, Dale & Kahneman, Daniel (eds.)

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