Self‐Deception and Hope

Mike W. Martin

in From Morality to Mental Health

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195304718
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786572 | DOI:

Series: Practical and Professional Ethics

 Self‐Deception and Hope

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Ethicists have linked meaningful life and honesty with oneself. Similarly, therapists regard honesty with oneself as integral to healing, and they regard contact with reality as a criterion for positive mental health. However, some psychologists have recently suggested that self-deception and unrealistic optimism might be good for us. This chapter argues that self-deception sometimes contributes to hope and love, and thereby to meaningful life and healthy functioning. It does so in a limited way, however, and not to the extent that justifies abandoning contact with reality as a criterion for mental health.

Keywords: meaningful life; lies; truthfulness; mental health

Chapter.  3681 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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