Philosophical Topics

Volume 50, Issue 2, Fall 2022

Social Minds in Digital Spaces

Eric Funkhouser
Pages 65-84

Interactive Self-Deception in Digital Spaces

Self-deceptive projects are frequently supported by our social environment, with others influencing both our motives and capacities for self-deception. Digital spaces offer even more opportunities for interactive self-deception. Digital platforms are incentivized to sort us and capture our engagement, and online users also have desires to be sorted and engaged. The execution of self-deception is partially offloaded to algorithms and social networks that filter our evidence, selectively draw our attention to evidence, offer rationalizations, and give us repetitive and emotion-laden feedback. Nevertheless, this is not so different from what we find in offline environments. Further, most of this offloading of information processing is willingly accepted by users and is in line with their desires. As such, responsibility for any motivationally biased beliefs largely lies with the individual internet user.