Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 33, number 97, abril 2001
Motivated Irrationality: The Case of Self-Deception
[Irracionalidad motivada: El caso del autoengaño]
Montserrat Bordes
Facultad de Humanidades
Universidad Pompeu Fabra

Abstract: This paper inquires into the conceptual nature of self-deception. I shall afford a theory which links SD to wishful thinking. First I present two rival models for the analysis of SD, and suggest reasons why the interpersonal model is flawed. It is necessary for supporters of this model to work out a strategy that avoids the ascription of inconsistency to the self-deceiver in order to fulfill the requirements of the charity principle. Some objections to the compartmentalization strategy are put forward, and a motivational theory is advanced. This theory diverges from Mele (1997)'s account of SD in that it (i) establishes as a necessary condition for SD the existence of a causal link between a desire and a belief unacknowledged by the self-deceived subject, who is unaware also of the counterevidential nature of his belief (the 'focused inferential blindness' thesis), (ii) allows only 'weak SD' cases and offers methodological reasons against the seemingly intentional and dissociative nature of SD and (iii) stresses the deception-SD asymmetry.
Keywords: motivated irrationality, wishful thinking, self-deception, inconsistency

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