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Self-deception and emotion

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Abstract:

Drawing on recent empirical work, this philosophical paper explores some possible contributions of emotion to self-deception. Three hypotheses are considered: (1) the anxiety reduction hypothesis: the function of self-deception is to reduce present anxiety; (2) the solo emotion hypothesis: emotions sometimes contribute to instances of self-deception that have no desires among their significant causes; (3) the direct emotion hypothesis: emotions sometimes contribute directly to self-deception, in the sense that they make contributions that, at the time, are neither made by desires nor causally mediated by desires. It is argued that (1) is false and that (3) is defensible and more defensible than (2).

Keywords: belief; bias; emotion; motivation; self-deception

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/ce.1.1.07mel

Affiliations: Philosophy Department, Florida State University

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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