Against the Deflationary Account of Self-Deception
Self-deception poses serious difficulties for belief attribution because the behavior of the self-deceived is deeply conflicted: some of it supports the attribution of a certain belief, while some of it supports the contrary attribution. Theorists have resorted either to attributing both beliefs to the self-deceived, or to postulating an unconscious belief coupled with another kind of cognitive attitude. On the other hand, deflationary accounts of self-deception have attempted a more parsimonious solution: attributing only one, false belief to the subject. My aim in this paper is to critically examine this strategy and, subsequently, to suggest that its failure gives support to the neglected view that the self-deceived are not accurately describable as believing either of the relevant propositions.
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