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Self-Deception, Interpretation and Consciousness

Paul Noordhof
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 67, No. 1 (Jul., 2003), pp. 75-100
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20140582
Page Count: 26
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Self-Deception, Interpretation and Consciousness
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Abstract

I argue that the extant theories of self-deception face a counterexample which shows the essential role of instability in the face of attentive consciousness in characterising self-deception. I argue further that this poses a challenge to the interpretist approach to the mental. I consider two revisions of the interpretist approach which might be thought to deal with this challenge and outline why they are unsuccessful. The discussion reveals a more general difficulty for Interpretism. Principles of reasoning--in particular, the requirement of total evidence--are given a weight in attentive consciousness which does not correspond to our reflective judgement of their weight. Successful interpretation does not involve ascribing beliefs and desires by reference to what a subject ought to believe and desire, contrary to what Interpretists suggest.

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