REI Colloquium – Martina Orlandi
‘I Knew All Along’: Post-Self-Deception Judgments and Hindsight Bias
By Martina Orlandi, Postdoctoral Scholar in Engaged Ethics in the Rock Ethics Institute and Schreyer Honors College
People lie to themselves about a wide variety of subjects. In the fortunate circumstances, where those who manage to eschew self-deception embrace reality, an interesting phenomenon occurs: the formerly self-deceived person often confesses to having ‘known [the truth] all along’. What should we make of these post-self-deception judgments? This is question I explore in this talk. I argue that these post-self-deception judgments are not conceptually innocuous because if genuine, they call into question the core feature of prominent theories of self-deception, that self-deceived individuals do not believe the unwelcome truth. Philosophers have attempted to overcome this challenge by arguing that these retrospective judgments are unreliable, and therefore that self-deception theories are under no obligation to accommodate them. However, these attempts have not provided any substantive arguments for why post-self-deception judgments are not to be trusted. I argue that post-self-deception judgments are instances of hindsight bias, in particular, that they are instances of foreseeability caused by motivational inputs. As a result, I caution against trust in post-self-deception judgments, which may not accurately track previous self-deceptive experiences.
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