Metaphysics and Epistemology Group (Tuesday - Week 4, HT24)

epistemology reading group

When people explain the reasons for their beliefs, we usually take them at their word. Matters are different, however, when we have identified the speaker in question as self-deceived. In such cases, it is very natural to dismiss the speaker's account of the reasons for which she believes as mere rationalization: roughly, an attempt to marshal good reasons for belief after the fact. What explains this aspect of our reaction to cases of self-deception? I argue that once we have the right answer to this question, we will be able to unravel several of the deepest and most enduring puzzles surrounding self-deception. In particular, we will be able to straightforwardly explain how self-deception is possible without flattening out its most distinctive features, articulate the epistemic failure involved in self-deception, and develop a novel and compelling picture of the moral failure involved in self-deception.

Metaphysics and Epistemology Group Convenors: Bernhard Salow, Nick Jones and Alex Kaiserman