Responsibility and Self-Deception: A Framework
This paper focuses on the question of whether and, if so, when people can be responsible for their self-deception and its consequences. On Intentionalist accounts, self-deceivers intentionally deceive themselves, and it is easy to see how they can be responsible. On Motivationist accounts, in contrast, self-deception is a motivated, but not intentional, and possibly unconscious process, making it more difficult to see how self-deceivers could be responsible. I argue that a particular Motivationist account, the Desire to Believe account, together with other resources, best explains how there can be culpable self-deception. In the process, I also show how self-deception is a good test case for deciding important questions about the nature of moral responsibility.
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