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Martina Orlandi

Positions held

2018-2019 Graduate fellow(s),


I am currently a PhD student in philosophy at McGill (since 2014) under the supervision of Professors Sarah Stroud and Ian Gold. My research focuses on self-deception’s parallel phenomenon of coming out of self-deception, which I call self-undeception. The literature on self-deception is abundant. However, surprisingly enough, self-undeception has been largely neglected because it is not obvious that the phenomenon is of any philosophical interest. In my dissertation I argue against this claim and I show how a proper investigation of the subject can contribute to our understanding of self-deception, thus revealing self-undeception’s philosophical worth. I propose a view of self-undeception which is based on the notion of coming out of self-deception for the right reasons, that is, for the sake of following one’s own epistemic norms—similarly as to performing the right action for the sake of following one’s own moral code. I then argue that the key to overcome self-deception lies in a successful exercise of self-control for the purpose of following one’s own epistemic norms. I characterize self-control as having both a synchronic and diachronic aspect. An important implication of my view of self-undeception is the suggestion that what goes wrong in self-deception is not, as one might think, a lack of genuine internalization of certain epistemic norms. Rather, the key feature is a failure to stick to those norms that one already has internalized.

Thus, my view of self-undeception advances a lighter solution (psychologically speaking), where what is needed is not the internalization of new norms, but rather the exercise of self-control to follow norms one already has internalized. I argue that this twofold nature of epistemic self-control as both synchronic and diachronic opens the path to an epistemic virtue theory of the self-undeceived individual as an epistemically self-controlled person.