Self-Deception: Intentional Plan or Mental Event?

  • Anna Elisabetta Galeotti Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Universit√† del Piemonte Orientale, Vercelli, Italy
Keywords: intentional account, causal account, self deception


The focus of this paper is the discussion between supporters of the intentional account of SD and supporters of the causal account. Between these two options the author argues that SD is the unintentional outcome of intentional steps taken by the agent. More precisely, she argues that SD is a complex mixture of things that we do and that happen to us; the outcome is however unintended by the subject, though it fulfils some of his practical, though short-term, goals. In her account, SD is produced after a fashion similar to those beneficial social phenomena which serve some collective purpose, are the product of human action, but not of human design, such as money, language and many social conventions; and similarly SD can be accounted by invisible hand explanation. The paper will critically analyze both the intentional and the causal accounts, and then present the invisible hand explanation which avoids the most puzzling aspect of the intentional view, while keeping the distinctiveness of SD in the realm of motivated irrationality. A brief discussion of the issue of responsibility for SD will conclude the paper.

How to Cite
Galeotti, A. (2012). Self-Deception: Intentional Plan or Mental Event?. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 5(20), 41-66. Retrieved from