Pathologies of democratic deliberation: A symposium on Anna Elisabetta Gale...

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YH/110 ReCSS Boardroom, University of York

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So far, political philosophers have largely neglected the phenomenon of self-deception by democratic decision-makers, i.e., their unintended ‘distortion of reality against the available evidence and according to one’s wishes’ (Galeotti, 2018, p. 1). However, self-deception creates a unique set of problems concerning the misuse of the best available evidence in democratic decision-making. Furthermore, it raises new questions about whether public officials can be insincere or dishonest first with themselves, what normative judgement we should pass on the resulting efforts at public justification of political decisions, and the extent to which public officials should be held accountable for self-deception. Anna Elisabetta Galeotti’s new book – Political Self-deception– places self-deception centre-stage. It explains how self-deception works, why it should be taken seriously and how it can explain what went wrong with the Cuban missile crisis, the choice to start the 2003 Iraq War and other tragic decisions in recent US history.

This symposium will bring together moral philosophers, political philosophers and US historians to discuss Galeotti’s book as well as the theoretical and normative relevance of political self-deception.

Symposium Programme:

10:45-11:00 Welcome and opening remarks

11:00-11:30 Elisabetta Galeotti: Why should we care about self-deception?

11:30-12:30 Neil Manson (Lancaster University)

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:30 Alice Baderin (University of Reading)

14:30-15:30 Shaul Mitelpunkt (University of York)

15:30-16:00 Coffee break

16:00-17:00 Alfred Moore (University of York)

17:00-17:30 Concluding remarks and final comments

All invited! For further information, please contact Gabriele Badano ( Alasia Nuti (

The symposium is kindly supported by the Society for Applied Philosophy and the Department of Politics (University of York)

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