I'm interested more in the philosophical perspective, rather than the evolutionary aspect like Robert Trivers presents.

  • David Pears addressed this issue in his book Motivated Irrationality (Oxford, 1984). There is also relevant material by Alfred Mele and others in The Oxford Handbook of Rationality (Oxford, 2004).
    – Bumble
    May 20, 2016 at 21:52
  • There is also the intermediate psychoanalytic perspective, especially perhaps the schools from Anna Freud and defense mechanism through Wilhelm Reich and character armor.
    – user9166
    May 21, 2016 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


The "self" is a difficult concept to pin down. For example "so I say to my self, self?" and we are at an impasse already.

Deception on the other hand most explicitly involves a "you" plus "another" and by definition must include another...a "co conspirator" or "partner in crime" if you will. In theory that could be your "self"...there are actors who play multiple roles in the same movie...most famously Peter Sellers in Doctor Strangelove. But I know of no time during that movie when his various "selves" conspired directly per se...although they all were discussing the same subject in different contexts namely "Mutual Assured Destruction" and the Atomic Bomb. He played the hapless President, the hapless British Air Force Colonel and the deranged Dr Strangelove...so it does make for an interesting introspection on points of view ceertainly "conspiring" in a sense to stop the dropping of an Atomic Bomb on Russia.

  • This answers cites no sources and doesn't demonstrate any familiarity with the lengthy philosophical literature on this topic.
    – virmaior
    May 20, 2016 at 9:03
  • I can't site one of History's most significant Actors? A person who's single movie literally influenced the direction of the Cold War and still does so today? How bizarre... May 20, 2016 at 11:59
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    Self-deception has been discussed by authors that influenced our thinking and western history as a whole for hundreds of years and you do not even mention them? How bizarre... History is way more than post WWII and what he spoke in this film weren't even his own words: the script was written by Peter George, Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern.
    – Philip Klöcking
    May 20, 2016 at 12:15
  • Yes but the question what about the "exploration of the self" if not indeed "many selves." To say Peter Sellers did not in fact "act" these words seems a bit presumptuous. And of course the point of the Movie is how fear and paranoia can indeed " deceive ourselves" with rather striking real World consequences. Literally the end of all life on our Planet as we know it. So who are the leading thinkers of the past on the subject of "self" deception? Peter Sellers and indeed all great actors are at the top of the list if we are to take the notion of "what is a self" even seriously.OW Mass Hysteria May 20, 2016 at 12:27

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