Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 14, Issue 3, 2014

Vasco Correia
Pages 309-323

From Self-Deception to Self-Control: Emotional Biases and the Virtues of Precommitment

‘Intentionalist’ approaches portray self-deceivers as “akratic believers”, subjects who deliberately choose to believe p despite knowing that p is false. In this paper, I argue that the intentionalist model leads to a series of paradoxes that seem to undermine it. I show that these paradoxes can nevertheless be overcome if we accept the hypothesis that self-deception is a non-intentional process that stems from the influence of emotions on judgment. Furthermore, I propose a motivational interpretation of the phenomenon of ‘hyperbolic discounting bias’, highlighting the role of emotional biases in akratic behavior. Finally, I argue that we are not the helpless victims of our irrational attitudes, insofar as we have the ability—and arguably the epistemic obligation—to counteract motivational biases.