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MIT OpenCourseWare http://ocw.mit.edu 24.120 Moral Psychology Spring 2009 For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: http://ocw.mit.edu/terms .
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24.210 MORAL PSYCHOLOGY RICHARD HOLTON XXI Self-Deception E MPIRICAL FINDINGS ON SELF - DECPTION A survey of one million high school seniors found that 70% thought they wee above average in leadership ability, and only 2% thought they were below average. In terms of ability to along with others, all students thought they were above average, 60% thought they were in the top 10%, and 25% thought they were in the top 1% …A survey of university professors found that 94% thought they were better at their jobs than their average colleague. Gilovich, reported in Mele In a study by Kunda, women who were heavy consumers of caffeine were less likely to believe a study that said that caffeine increased the risk of breast cancer than were low consuming women or men. An old explanation If a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, then he deceiveth himself (Gal. 6 : 3 4 ) D ECEPTION BY OTHERS What is involved in a standard case of deception? A deceives B about m, just in case A knows some proposition p about m, yet A intentionally brings B to believe that not-p. S ELF - DECEPTION MODELLED ON THE DECEPTION OF OTHERS A deceives herself about m, just in case A knows some proposition p about m, yet A intentionally brings herself to believe that not-p. Worries: (i) how can A know that p, and yet believe that not-p? (ii) how can A intentionally manipulate her own beliefs? In answer to the first worry, perhaps one could forget one’s initial belief. Mele’s example of Ike, the diary writer. But if this is to be effective self-deception, typically evidence to the contrary
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