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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

Chapter:
(p.152) 13 Self‐Deception and Hope
Source:
From Morality to Mental Health
Author(s):

Mike W. Martin (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195304713.003.0013

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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