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A Luxury of the UnderstandingOn the Value of True Belief$
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Allan Hazlett

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199674800.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 May 2021

Greatness of Mind

Greatness of Mind

(p.39) 2 Greatness of Mind
A Luxury of the Understanding

Hazlett Allan

Oxford University Press

It is argued that false belief is often better for a person than true belief, by appeal to the psychological literature on “self-enhancement bias” – bias in favor of a positive self-conception. Such bias was described by Hume, who called it pride or “greatness of mind.” Empirical research on self-enhancement bias – overly positive self-evaluation, unrealistic optimism, and illusion of control – is reviewed. It is argued that such bias is often valuable vis-à-vis the wellbeing of the believer, and objections to this conclusion are presented and discussed.

Keywords:   Self-enhancement bias, wellbeing, value, truth

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