Thursday, 5 June 2014

Desiring to Believe and Self-Deception

What happens when you desire to believe something? Or when you are invested in a belief or committed to it?

If you were to let that desire, investment or commitment have full reign, would it compromise your rationality? Are the demands of desire for belief and the demands of rationality at odds with one another? Do you need to curb back that desire - take a more distanced, 'neutral' stance - in order to be rational?

I think that an analysis of self-deception suggests that the answer may be 'no'. That is, whole-hearted commitment to or desire for a belief may actually call for adherence to the demands of rationality. I am toying around with the idea that properly worked-out belief commitment and desire will lead one to be rational, rather than, as conventional wisdom would have it, irrational.

I sketch a suggestive argument for thinking that to be true in this short post on the Philosophy @ University of Birmingham blog (the university I'm doing my MA through):