Dan Dennett discusses consciousness & self-deception

We fool ourselves with frightening regularity, and to me, a fundamental difference between skeptics and true believers is the tendency of the latter to convince themselves that they cannot be fooled, that none can take advantage of them, even to the extent of thinking themselves immune to self-deception, the first and most basic of all deceptions, ultimately leading to vulnerability to any bamboozle that saunters up to them.

And I’ve seen this happen with some pretty smart, well-educated, and sane people, who use their sharp wits and good education to better effect in keeping themselves fooled on some very important issues, by crafting clever, very clever, too clever, arguments in my view, that sound perfectly rational to the unwary, but the argumentation strategies and language used betraying their specious nature and raising a host of red flags.

Arguments so clever and well-articulated that their makers notice nary a thing wrong…

Daniel Dennett here discusses the issue of how our brains actively fool us, and how it can and does go on in even the most skeptical of us, requiring extreme caution whenever we are tempted to think with our proverbial gut, and in acting on it, getting us into a lot of trouble in the process.

2 thoughts on “Dan Dennett discusses consciousness & self-deception

  1. The big problem is whether you are being fooled whilst events are continuously present in your experience. Certainly what is then present may not be what it relates to in the world but it is there, in your experience.
    Dennett is an old fashioned natural dualist masquerading as an atheist so has no possibility of their being an intermediate “plenum” in which experience could be present but incorrect. (see Dennett’s Dualism)


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