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DOES THE BIAS NEED TO BE MOTIVATED

DOES THE BIAS NEED TO BE MOTIVATED - challenge them he...

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DOES THE BIAS NEED TO BE MOTIVATED? A first pass: A’s belief in p is motivated just in case either A wants p to be true, or A wants to believe that p. Problem: the under-self-confident agent. Perhaps such an agent wants to believe that she is no good in order to avoid having to face failure. But it seems unwarranted to require that this is always the case. An alternative: the belief is motivated just in the sense that maintaining it caused minimum disruption to the agent’s belief system. —2— ARE MELE’S CONDITIONS SUFFICIENT FOR SELF DECEPTION? Consider the case of Jean-Marie: Jean-Marie is a racist. He thinks that blacks and Arabs are not as good as whites: not as clever, or as imaginative, or as brave, or as trustworthy, or whatever. Take just about any property that Jean-Marie might regard as a virtue, and he will think that whites have more of it. Let us assume that his beliefs here are, by and large, false. But he holds them sincerely. And were we to
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Unformatted text preview: challenge them, he would provide evidence: reams of it, taken from the magazines and newspapers of the kinds of organization to which he belongs. He is aware of the opposing view; indeed he has reams of that too, collected to document the conspiracy which he thinks pervades the liberal establishment that controls the mainstream press and publishing houses. Jean-Marie meets all four of Mele’s conditions. He is bigoted and prejudiced. Yet he is not obviously self-deceived. Perhaps the reason is that he lacks false beliefs about himself. Or does he? The more we reflect on his likely self-ignorance, and its causes, the more likely we are to say that he does have false beliefs about the reliability of his beliefs; but then the more likely we are to say that he is self-deceived....
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