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  Self-deception, deceiving oneself is, in philosophical terms, extremely puzzling. When two people are involved, deception involves the deceiver intentionally making another person, the deceived, believe what the deceiver knows to be false. Thus a husband may intentionally get his wife to believe what he, the deceiver, knows to be false: that is, that the two of them have a monogamous relationship. But it is difficult to see how one person could manage to deceive themself in this way. How could one intentionally get oneself to believe what one believes to be false? How could one intentionally get oneself to believe that one\'s partner is faithful when one believes that he or she is not? For how could one intend to deceive oneself?

One attempt to resolve this conundrum is to split the self into sub-systems. Just as ordinary deception involves two people, one of whom intentionally deceives the other, self-deception is said to involve one part of the self intentionally deceiving another part of the self. The sub-systems of the self are both person-like in that they have beliefs, desires and intentions, and they causally influence each other. And no sub-system of the self ever intends to deceive its self, but one sub-system may intend to and succeed in deceiving another. AJ

Further reading R. Wollheim and , J. Hopkins, Philosophical Essays on Freud.



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