Being Self-Deceived about One’s Own Mental State

Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming)
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Abstract
A familiar puzzle about self-deception concerns how self-deception is possible in light of the paradoxes generated by a plausible way of defining it. A less familiar puzzle concerns how a certain type of self-deception—being self-deceived about one's own intentional mental state—is possible in light of a plausible way of understanding the nature of self-knowledge. According to this understanding, we ordinarily do not infer our mental states from evidence, but then it's puzzling how this sort of self-deception could occur given that self-deception arises from the mistreatment of evidence. This article argues that to accommodate this kind of self-deception we should accept that sometimes ordinary self-knowledge is inferential, but that this idea needn’t be so unappealing. In particular, by showing that such inferential self-knowledge can be both ‘transparent’ and ‘direct’, the article argues that it need not imply having an abnormal, ‘alienated’ relation to the mental state.
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Archival date: 2021-11-08
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