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Title: A defense of a deflationary theory of self-deception
Author: Lynch, Kevin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 0506
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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In this thesis I take the basic idea of self-deception to be that of believing something against good evidence to the contrary because you want it to be true. I then identify the central theoretical problem concerning this phenomenon as being that of giving an account of the explanatory connection between the desire and belief in real life cases of this sort. The two main approaches to answering this question in the philosophical literature are traditionalism and deflationism. Traditionalists hold that the desire leads to the belief by motivating the subject to intentionally acquire the belief, a belief he/she initially knows to be false/unwarranted (i.e., it motivates her to intentionally deceive herself), while deflationists deny this. I defend a deflationary account of how self-deceivers end up with their unwarranted beliefs, but one which differs from other deflationist accounts, either in substance or in emphasis, by trying to preserve a central role for agency and intentional action in the explanation and by trying to elucidate the nature of these culpable actions and intentions. Accordingly, an account is developed which holds that self-deceivers end up self-deceived because of their own actions, actions motivated by the relevant desires and emotions, though these actions are not done with an intention to deceive oneself. I try to show how an account of this sort can explain features of self-deception which any such account would be expected to explain, and in a better way than its rivals, including, for instance, the tension of selfdeception, and the fact that self-deceivers are responsible for their own self-deception, while also avoiding the paradoxes that afflict other agency-focused approaches.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick. Dept. of Philosophy
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BD Speculative Philosophy