Today's post, Belief in Self-Deception was originally published on 05 March 2009. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):


Deceiving yourself is harder than it seems. What looks like a successively adopted false belief may actually be just a belief in false belief.

Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments to the original post).

This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was No, Really, I've Deceived Myself, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.

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Moderately on topic:

I'll occasionally take "drugs" like airborne to boost my immune system if I feel myself coming down with something. I fully know that they have little to no medicinal effect, but I also know the placebo effect is real and well documented. In the end, I take them because I expect them to trigger a placebo effect where I feel better, and expect it to work because the placebo effect is real. This feels silly.

I wonder whether it is possible to switch out the physical action of taking a pill with an entirely mental event and get this same effect. I also wonder if this is just called optimism. Lastly, I wonder if I truly believe that "drugs" like airborne are able to help me, or just believe I believe, and am unsure what impact that has on my expectations given the placebo effect.

Hey, we're all the way to LW content now! :)