, Volume 101, Issue 2, pp 273–289

Self-deception and belief attribution

  • Steven D. Hales

DOI: 10.1007/BF01064020

Cite this article as:
Hales, S.D. Synthese (1994) 101: 273. doi:10.1007/BF01064020


One of the most common views about self-deception ascribes contradictory beliefs to the self-deceiver. In this paper it is argued that this view (the contradiction strategy) is inconsistent with plausible common-sense principles of belief attribution. Other dubious assumptions made by contradiction strategists are also examined. It is concluded that the contradiction strategy is an inadequate account of self-deception. Two other well-known views — those of Robert Audi and Alfred Mele — are investigated and found wanting. A new theory of self-deception relying on an extension of Mark Johnston's subintentional mental tropisms is proposed and defended.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven D. Hales
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy Bakeless Center for the HumanitiesBloomsburg UniversityBloomsburgUSA