Paul Doody (KCL) - 2014-15 Students

How rational must we be? An analysis of rationality assumptions in the literatures on self-deception and delusion

There are rich philosophical literatures concerning the topics of self-deception and delusion. In recent years, there has been more of a move to analyse the relations between these phenomena (Bortolotti and Mameli, 2012; Bayne and Fernández, 2009). This project continues in this vein. The first part of the project has two principle aims: (1) to argue that much of the philosophical work on self-deception and delusion is predicated on strong assumptions concerning human rationality; and (2), to argue that these assumptions are implausible, and that they force us to accept counterintuitive characterisations of these phenomena. The aim of the second part of the project is to show that forfeiting these assumptions allows us to retain our common-sense characterisations of both self-deception and delusion. The final part of the project focuses on the implications of rejecting these rationality assumptions for a theory of the propositional attitudes. It will be argued that, though we should reject strong rationality assumptions, we cannot reject rationality wholesale. We need to retain a minimal conception of rationality (Cherniak, 1986)

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