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From Morality to Mental HealthVirtue and Vice in a Therapeutic Culture$
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Mike W. Martin

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195304718

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195304713.001.0001

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Self‐Deception and Hope

Self‐Deception and Hope

(p.152) 13 Self‐Deception and Hope
From Morality to Mental Health

Mike W. Martin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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