Course Instructor, University of Alberta 2019
Philosophy of Psychology, Winter 2019
This paper offers an account of intending to self-deceive which opposes that provided by standard intentionalist accounts of self-deception. According to my account, self-deception is attained instantaneously: to intend to self-deceive that P is thereby to self-deceive that P. Relating this to the concepts of evidence, belief and self-awareness, I develop an account of self-deception which holds that self-deceivers misrepresent themselves as believing (so, do not believe) what they profess to believe. I argue that my account yields solutions to the central problems of self-deception – the static problem and the dynamic problem – while remaining faithful to the phenomena of self-deception.
It is widely assumed that a literal understanding of someone’s self-deception that P yields the following contradiction. Qua self-deceiver, she does not believe that P, yet – qua self-deceived – she does believe that P. I argue that this assumption is ill-founded. Literalism about self-deception – the view that self-deceivers literally self-deceive – is not committed to this contradiction. On the contrary, properly understood, literalism (non-trivially) excludes it.
I address the related problems of whether consciousness (or experience) is necessarily self-aware and, if so, what constitutes that self-awareness. I argue that consciousness is necessarily self- aware and that this self-awareness is distinct in kind from intentionality. The self-awareness that is necessary to an experience does not posit that experience as an intentional object, via an intentional content. Rather, it apprehends that experience immediately, as the experience it is.
According to doxastic accounts of self‐deception, self‐deception that P yields belief that P. For doxastic accounts, the self‐deceiver really believes what he, in self‐deception, professes to believe. I argue that doxastic accounts are contradicted by a phenomenon that often accompanies self‐deception. This phenomenon – which I term ‘secondary deception’ – consists in the self‐deceiver's defending his professed (deceit‐induced) belief to an audience by lying to that audience. I proceed to sketch an alternative, non‐doxastic account of how we should understand self‐deception in terms of the self‐deceiver's misrepresentation of himself as believing that P.
I defend a Husserlian account of self-consciousness against representationalist accounts: higher-order representationalism and self-representationalism. Of these, self-representationalism is the harder to refute since, unlike higher-order representationalism, it does not incur a regress of self-conscious acts. However, it incurs a regress of intentional contents. I consider, and reject, five strategies for avoiding this regress of contents. I conclude that the regress is inherent to self-representationalism. I close by showing how this incoherence obtrudes in what must be the self-representationalist’s account of the phenomenology of experience.
I address the problem of what grounds Sartre’s paradoxical claim that consciousness is non-self-identical, and his equally paradoxical gloss on that claim – that the nature of consciousness is to be what it is not and not to be what it is. I argue that there is an implicit argument in Being and Nothingness, which both yields and elucidates Sartre’s claim that consciousness is non-self-identical, and which also maps on to, and clarifies, the explicit argument that Sartre provides for this conclusion. This implicit argument presupposes that we attribute to Sartre a distinctive theory of pre-reflective self-consciousness – what I call the non-iterative theory. I argue that we should attribute the non-iterative theory to Sartre.
Philosophy of Psychology, Winter 2019
Topics in Philosophy: Self-Deception, Winter 2017
Philosophy of Mind, Winter 2016
Contemporary Moral Issues, Winter 2015
Existentialism, Fall 2015
Feminist Theory, Winter 2014
Introduction to Deductive Logic, Summer 2014
Existentialism, Fall 2014
Existentialism, Fall 2013
Philosophy of Mind, Fall 2012
“Self-Deception: Conflating the Real with the Imaginary”, The University of Alberta Philosophy Colloquium, January 2020
“Self-Awareness and Inner Objects,” Canadian Philosophical Association (CPA) Annual Congress 2019, The University of British Columbia, June 2019
"Iterative pre-reflection versus non-iterative pre-reflection: two arguments for iteration", Workshop on Phenomenal Consciousness and Self-Awareness, University of Fribourg, April 2019
“Self-Awareness and Inner Objects,” The 26th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, The University of Rijeka, Croatia, September 2018“The Dynamic Problem of Self-Deception”, The 10th Annual Meeting of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, San Antonio, TX, March 2018
“Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness in Self-Deception”, The 56th Meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP), University of Memphis, USA, October 2017
“Immediate Self-Deception”, Third International Conference on Philosophy of Mind: Minds, Brains, and Consciousness, University of Minho, Portugal, October 2017“Immediate Self-Deception”, Philosophy of Mind, Language and Cognition, The University of Western Ontario, Canada, June 2017
“Self-Deception and Intentionality: A Sartrean Alternative”, North American Sartre Society, University of North Carolina, USA, November 2016
“A Reflective Theory of Self-Deception”, Faculty and Graduate Philosophy Retreat, McGill University, Canada, September 2016
“A Solution to the Dynamic Problem of Self-Deception”, Copenhagen Summer School in Phenomenology and the Philosophy of Mind, Center for Subjectivity Research, Denmark, August 2016
“Pseudo-Beliefs and Non-Persuasive Evidence”, Network for Analytic Philosophy and Social Critique, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, July 2016
“Self-Deception and Intentionality: the Shared Error of Intentionalism and Deflationism”, Intention and Attention: A Joint Venture between Phenomenology and the History of Philosophy, Würzburg University, Germany, July 2016