Reconciling Practical Knowledge with Self-Deception

Mind 128 (512):1205-1225 (2019)
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Abstract
Is it impossible for a person to do something intentionally without knowing that she is doing it? The phenomenon of self-deceived agency might seem to show otherwise. Here the agent is not lying, yet disavows a correct description of her intentional action. This disavowal might seem expressive of ignorance. However, I show that the self-deceived agent does know what she's doing. I argue that we should understand the factors that explain self-deception as masking rather than negating the practical knowledge characteristic of intentional action. This masking takes roughly the following form: when we are deceiving ourselves about what we are intentionally doing, we don't think about our action because it's painful to do so.
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Archival date: 2018-09-26
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Intention.Anscombe, G. E. M.
Who is Fooled?Davidson, Donald

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