Finite rational self-deceivers

Philosophical Studies 139 (2):191 - 208 (2008)
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Abstract
I raise three puzzles concerning self-deception: (i) a conceptual paradox, (ii) a dilemma about how to understand human cognitive evolution, and (iii) a tension between the fact of self-deception and Davidson’s interpretive view. I advance solutions to the first two and lay a groundwork for addressing the third. The capacity for self-deception, I argue, is a spandrel, in Gould’s and Lewontin’s sense, of other mental traits, i.e., a structural byproduct. The irony is that the mental traits of which self-deception is a spandrel/byproduct are themselves rational
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