Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars There is a smile of love, and there is a smile of deceit..., 23 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Deceit and Self-Deception: Fooling Yourself the Better to Fool Others (Hardcover)
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In this book the distinguished biologist Robert Trivers attempts to put together a theory of deceit and self-deception grounded in evolutionary terms. Given our impressive array of sensory systems that are organised to give us an accurate and detailed picture of the world around us where is the advantage in self-deception? According to the author we essentially deceive ourselves the better to deceive others. By believing his own deceit, the deceiver is able to avoid giving themselves and their lies away.

This is basically a book of two halves, the first lays out the evidence; examples of deception in nature, evidence from neurophysiology, immunology and physchology. In the second part of the book, the author examines some of the consequences of self-deception using examples in aviation and space disasters, false historical narratives, war and religion.

It is, as might be expected, a thought provoking and provocative book and whilst I enjoyed reading it, it is perhaps very much a work in progress. To be fair, the author makes it clear what is known and what is speculative. But even so a lot of the ideas outlined here are still awaiting the appropriate research to be done to back them up (or otherwise) and as such there is perhaps a lack of overall cohesiveness to the book.
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