From Self-Deception to Self-Control: Emotional Biases and the Virtues of Precommitment

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'Intentionalist' approaches portray self-deceivers as "akratic believers", subjects who deliberately choose to believe p despite knowing that p is false. In this paper, I argue. that the intentionalist model leads to a series of paradoxes that seem to undermine it. I show that these paradoxes can nevertheless be overcome if we accept the hypothesis that self-deception is a non-intentional process that stems from the influence of emotions on judgment. Furthermore, I propose a motivational interpretation of the phenomenon of 'hyperbolic discounting bias', highlighting the role of emotional biases in akratic behavior. Finally, I argue that we are not the helpless victims of our irrational attitudes, insofar as we have the ability-and arguably the epistemic obligation to-counteract motivational biases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-323
Number of pages15
JournalCroatian journal of philosophy
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Akrasia
  • emotions
  • epistemic responsibility
  • hyperbolic discounting
  • irrationality
  • motivational biases
  • precommitment
  • self-deception
  • self-control


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