It is matter of common observation that "so-and-so does not know his own motives," or that "A is envious of B and malicious about him, but quite unconscious of being so." Such people are called self-deceivers
, and are supposed to have had to go through some more or less elaborate process of concealing from themselves what would otherwise have been obvious.
For doxastic accounts, the self-deceiver
really believes what he, in self-deception, professes to believe.
However, a self-deceiver
typically believes that p "in the teeth" of strong evidence against p.
In this case, it leads to a distortion of reality, which becomes harmful for the self-deceiver
who is interested in the welfare of his son.
"We must ask the question: was this woman a saint or was she a self-deceiver
, a religious hysteric in the ecclesiastical sense?
thus fails to make a high enough estimate of how much his or her anxious desire that something be the case contributes to the reason why he or she believes something else.
Self-deception is a different matter; a self-deceiver
is described as pulling the wool over her own eyes precisely by ignoring her inner voice.
There is little disputing that a self-deceiver
is motivated to hold a belief that promises to realize an idealized self: one that can sustain a self's beliefs through the vicissitudes of action.
But he's more of a serial self-deceiver
, a strongman from the provinces surrounded by tremulous yes-men who fear giving him bad news.
If there is any consolation in this tale, it is that the United States was not the worst self-deceiver
. As Takeyh's narrative suggests, Britain, France and Israel were even more self-absorbed and more dedicated to self-defeating and out-of-date policies.
It is necessary for supporters of this model to work out a strategy that avoids the ascription of inconsistency to the self-deceiver
in order to fulfill the requirements of the charity principle.
"Oh, he says that not-p but he doesn't really believe it." To be a self-deceiver
he has to persuade himself that not-p, i.e.