Self-Deception, Delusion and the Boundaries of Folk Psychology

  • Lisa Bortolotti University of Birmingham, UK, and Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Australia
  • Matteo Mameli King’s College London, UK
Keywords: self-deception, self-delusion, folk-psychology


To what extent do self-deception and delusion overlap? In this paper we argue that both self-deception and delusions can be understood in folk-psychological terms. “Motivated” delusions, just like self-deception, can be described as beliefs driven by personal interests. If self-deception can be understood folk-psychologically because of its motivational component, so can motivated delusions. Non-motivated delusions also fit (to a large extent) the folk-psychological notion of belief, since they can be described as hypotheses one endorses when attempting to make sense of unusual and powerful experiences. We suggest that there is continuity between the epistemic irrationality manifested in self-deception and in delusion.

How to Cite
Bortolotti, L., & Mameli, M. (2018). Self-Deception, Delusion and the Boundaries of Folk Psychology. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 5(20), 203-221. Retrieved from