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Title: Self-deception and akrasia : a comparative conceptual analysis
Authors: Sultana, Mark
Keywords: Self-deception
Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 1889-1951
Philosophy of mind
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Editrice Pontificia Universita' Gregoriana
Citation: Sultana, M. (2006). Self-deception and akrasia : a comparative conceptual analysis. PUG: Analecta Gregoriana.
Series/Report no.: Analecta Gregoriana;
Abstract: The purpose of this monograph is to carry out a conceptual analysis of two questions, in philosophical psychology, which have often been seen as paradoxical. The first focus of the study is the conceptual analytical strategy used so effectively by Ludwig Wittgenstein in order to clarify our use of the terms such as ‘knowledge’, ‘self’, and ‘intention’. Subsequently, different attempts to provide an account of the phenomenon of self-deception and akrasia are presented. It will be seen that, in both cases, different solutions are given to a seeming paradox. Indeed, even the solutions appear to be parallel. Thus, there are some accounts which negate that the phenomenon exists; others attempt to point out distinctions within the self, so that the situation is seen to be the result of the interaction of two different conceptual systems, with one system deliberately concealing or misinterpreting the relevant facts to deceive the other system into holding the preferred, but erroneous, opinion, or taking the desired, but unwise, option; while still others focus on sidestepping the paradox by offering an explanation that abandons some feature of the analysis of the phenomenon along the lines of an interpersonal incongruity of contradictory beliefs or commands. It is shown that, while the sceptical response is too reductive, the problems with the constructive attempts are that they either suffer from the defect of ignoratio elenchi, or they, sadly, trivialize the concept under consideration. In both cases, after having thus surveyed the landscape of explanations, a rather different account is put forward. In the instance of self-deception, an account that proposes to shift the emphasis towards willing and acting is presented. In the case of akrasia, it is the Aristotelian account, which focuses on the central importance of the agent’s character, which is then submitted. These accounts immediately show the utility of looking more closely at the use of words manifesting our understanding of the concepts ‘self-deception’ and ‘akrasia’. Subsequent chapters then examine the way in which we use words related to self-deception and akrasia. It is seen that, often, explanatory models fail to work due to an element of conceptual confusion. They often seek to sort out the causal, psychological problem rather than the conceptual, analytical one. Thus, while there obviously is a causal, psychological problem, it is only when a clear and coherent characterization of the phenomenon is offered that one could proceed to evaluate the success of any proposed explanation. Accordingly, the two respective chapters aim to proceed to analyse the concepts in a Wittgensteinian manner (that is, probing at the descriptive, conceptual level), using the insights gained along the way. The result is the elucidation of a number of logical criteria for the use of terms manifesting our understanding of each concept. Finally, a comparative conceptual analysis showing the conceptual links and the differences between the two is put forward. The monograph concludes with suggestions, made possible by the results of the conceptual analyses, about the arena of responsibility within both the philosophical and the religious spheres.
ISBN: 9788878390775
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacArtPhi

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