Self-deception is the act of leading oneself to believe something is false, and this can occur with varying degrees of self-awareness about the process. The other face of self-deception is denying or ignoring the relevance or importance of evidence and argument that is contrary to our preferred vision of ourselves and our world. A common example would be ignoring chest pains and convincing oneself that all is well even with all the classic symptoms of heart problems. Because self-deception is seen as a barrier to living an authentic and ethical life, from the earliest of times, philosophers have encouraged us to be aware of ourselves and our surroundings—or in the words of the ancient Greek aphorism “Know thyself.”

Sources of the Self

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