Prospects for an Intentionalist Theory of Self-Deception

  • Kevin Lynch


A distinction can be made between those who think that self-deception is frequently intentional and those who don’t. I argue that the idea that self-deception has to be intentional can be partly traced to a particular invalid method for analyzing reflexive expressions of the form ‘Ving oneself’ (where V stands for a verb). However, I take the question of whether intentional self-deception is possible to be intrinsically interesting, and investigate the prospects for such an alleged possibility. Various potential strategies of intentional self-deception are examined in relation to Alfred Mele’s suggestion that doing something intentionally implies doing it knowingly. It is suggested that the best prospects for an intentionalist theory of self-deception lie with a strategy involving the control of attention.