Ratio 17 (3):294-311 (2004)

Neil Levy
Macquarie University
The self-deceived are usually held to be moral responsible for their state. I argue that this attribution of responsibility makes sense only against the background of the traditional conception of self-deception, a conception that is now widely rejected. In its place, a new conception of self-deception has been articulated, which requires neither intentional action by self-deceived agents, nor that they possess contradictory beliefs. This new conception has neither need nor place for attributions of moral responsibility to the self-deceived in paradigmatic cases. Accordingly, we should take the final step toward abandoning the traditional conception, and drop the automatic attribution of responsibility. Self-deception is simply a kind of mistake, and has no more necessary connection to culpability than have other intellectual errors
Keywords Ethics  Mistake  Moral Responsibility  Self-deception  Tradition
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.0034-0006.2004.00255.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,172
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Self-Deception.Ian Deweese-Boyd - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Is There a Problem With False Hope?Bert Musschenga - 2019 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 44 (4):423-441.
Self-Deception and Shifting Degrees of Belief.Chi Yin Chan & Darrell P. Rowbottom - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (8):1204-1220.
Fairness, Self-Deception and Political Obligation.Massimo Renzo - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (3):467-488.

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Self-Deception About Emotion.Lisa Damm - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (3):254-270.
Self-Deception.Ian Deweese-Boyd - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Real Ascriptions of Self-Deception Are Fallible Moral Judgments.Edward A. Johnson - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):117-118.
Self-Deception Vs. Self-Caused Deception: A Comment on Professor Mele.Robert Audi - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):104-104.
The Philosophy of Deception.Clancy Martin (ed.) - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Understanding and Explaining Real Self-Deception.Alfred R. Mele - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):127-134.
The Moral Limits of Military Deception.John Mark Mattox - 2002 - Journal of Military Ethics 1 (1):4-15.
Self-Deception.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.


Added to PP index

Total views
240 ( #46,943 of 2,517,887 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #100,823 of 2,517,887 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes