Talk by Richard Holton: Self-deception and the moral self

Richard Holton is coming to Oslo from Cambridge University.

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Much recent empricial work on moral motivation suggests that some of it comes from self-signalling: people want to prove to themselves that they are moral. Whether or not this undermines the moral value of their actions is a moot point that will not be evaluated here. What will be evaluated is the extent to which this kind of moral self-signalling involves self-deception. On the basis of various emprical studies I argue that self-deception cannot in general be understood as action that is guided by a pre-existing bias; it requires a greater responsiveness to the topic about which the agent is decided. Plausibly this is true of moral self-signalling too.


Talk co-organized by the Oslo Mind Group and the Thought and Sense Project.

Published Aug. 19, 2019 12:14 PM - Last modified Aug. 19, 2019 12:16 PM