I'm still relatively new to philosophy of mind, so I'm hoping this isn't too obvious of a question. I realize from what I've read on the topic so far that the definition of self-deception (and whether it's even strictly possible) is controversial, but I was trying to understand the difference between self-deception and the following related concepts:
- Ayn Rand's concept of "faking" or avoiding reality (discussed extensively in Atlas Shrugged and other books, as well as by associates like the psychologist Nathaniel Branden in The Disowned Self)
- Modern psychology's concept of motivated reasoning
- Sigmund Freud's concept of denial (as a psychological defense mechanism)
- "Ordinary" intransigence/obduracy
I'm particularly interested in the application of philosophy of mind's contribution to the idea of self-deception to psychological issues like addiction and self-esteem. Clearly, an issue like addiction is often accompanied by manifestly false beliefs; which category would those fall under (self-deception, motivated reasoning, etc.), assuming that there's an actual difference between those concepts and that some or all of them actually occur?
I had a second, somewhat related question. I listened to John Searle's lectures for his UC Berkeley introductory Philosophy of Mind class awhile back, and he included the following rather homicidal illustration (and I'm paraphrasing heavily):
Suppose that a guy decides he wants to kill his uncle in order to get his inheritance early.
Once he decided to carry it out, he started driving over to his uncle's house to carry it out. However, he was so nervous about doing it that he accidentally took his foot off the brake and struck a pedestrian, killing him.
As you might have guessed, the pedestrian just happened to have been his uncle.
In this case, he intended to kill his uncle and the intention caused him to kill his uncle, but it wasn't an "intentional" killing.
According to Dr. Searle, lawyers have told him that legally this would probably get him off the charges.
I haven't fully explored this yet, but is it possible to use something analogous to this to explain self-deception (or is this a complete "dead end")?