David Livingstone Smith

The form and function of self-deception: A biological model

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Intentionalism; Non-Intentionalism; Non-Intentional Deception; Selfdeception.

Theories of self-deception differ with respect to their views about its form and function. Intentionalists hold that self-deception resembles interpersonal deception, and that its function is to cause agents to adopt false beliefs. Nonintentionalists reject this view, and argue that the form of self-deception is best captured in terms of unconscious biases and that it does not have any function. I argue that both of these theories have major shortcomings, and present an alternative, called "teleofunctional non-intentionalism". On this account, selfdeception resembles the non-intentional deceptions perpetrated by non-human organisms and has the subintentional function of causing the agent's representational apparatus to fail.

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