“Why We Lie to Ourselves: The Roots and Recollections of Self Deception” Comments, Page 1

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6 Comments (2 Discussion Threads) on “Why We Lie to Ourselves: The Roots and Recollections of Self Deception”

  1. A gene for self-deception? (Hmm?) Unless they mean that behaviour is learned and hence passed on via social systems. In which case ‘evolutionary’ doesn’t have much meaning so far as I can see.

    I guess inter-personal self-deception might be interesting – it is usually is taken to be intra-personal I think. I do think we need a social sense of the self, so this may hold some insight.

    The idea of levels of self-deception sounds interesting.

    The authors sound confident they are not deceiving themselves (hmm).

    If you’d post a link to the paper when it’s published I’d be grateful – presuming I’m allowed to read it. Thanks.

  2. I don’t really see what an evolutionary perspective adds. There is the difficulty of imagining what a self-deception gene would actually look like. This doesn’t mean they don’t give a good account of how self-deception functions so that people do better socially – just that the evolutionary perspective doesn’t add anything to the account. When its based on ‘if Dawkins is right’ and this ‘ought to lead to selection pressure’ on a behaviour, it just seems dodgy.

    They don’t seem to provide any arguments for why the evolutionary perspective should be preferred. They provide evidence that it hasn’t been explored and show that the existing data could be interpreted as consistent with this perspective but no reason why it should be preferred. If they want to argue that the evolutionary perspective would be better I don’t see any argument from them about this.

    Their idea that self-deception is for self-enhancement is either quite naive or needs to pay close attention to what ‘self-enhancement’ means. Is the self of ‘self-enhancement’ the picture a person has of themselves. If this is a ‘negative’ picture does self-enhancement mean believing more ‘bad’ things about oneself? What evolutionary advantage would this convey? There seems to be a need for another layer of the self, not just conscious and unconscious but picture of self and human organism (with all the potentials and limitations this has).

    Is mental health about goal achievement? Should Socrates have accepted exile? Was his not doing so a sign of mental ill health?

    I have a problem with motives being taken account of in an evolutionary perspective, as seems necessary when talking about whether people are deceiving themselves or not.

    I like that they see the that behaviour occurs in response to context. Some of their suggestions for future research are interesing. I don’t see how any of the proposals would help choose between existing frameworks and their evolutionary one.

    1. Me? No. It would just be critiquing something without a practical outcome. Taking apart evolutionary psychology is fun but it would be just for my amusement. (How quickly people have forgotten the nastier side of eugenics. Mutual Aid psychology anyone? Kropotkinite perspectives on collaboration?)

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