Self-deception is the act or practice of allowing oneself to have a false belief about an unvalidated idea, feeling, or situation. Because self-deception is seen as a barrier to living an authentic and ethical life, from the earliest of time, philosophers have encouraged people to be self-aware, or in the words of the ancient Greek aphorism, to “know thyself.”

The implication is that for individuals to fulfill their obligations and have a good life—to be a mature ethical actor and survive in the community—they must be ruthlessly aware of their selves, their motives, and their place in the community. People are taught that to be true to themselves, they should abandon a belief if they are presented with credible evidence that the belief is wrong and ...

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