Self-love and self-deception in Seneca, the Stoic

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy, Turkey

Approval Date: 2005

Thesis Language: English

Student: Ayten Sururi

Supervisor: AHMET İNAM


In this thesis, Seneca̕s notion of self as self-love and the problem of self-deception are analyzed. In examining three types of self-love, اignorant, progressing selves,اthree models of self-deception are discussed. Self-deception is related to the problem of self-knowledge. I discuss the nature of self-love as self-esteem and self-preservation and self-shaping all of which are innate qualities and develop into more complex forms of knowing. Passions are concrete examples of the representations of deceived self; central to the overestimation of indifferents, the deceived self displays a pattern of reasoning that creates a paradox between what the self intends to do and what it actually appears or what the self wants to see himself as and what it actually is. In discussing various types of self-deception, it is argued that problem of deception can hardly be overcome practically even by education, although it is naturally possible. While the ignorant deceive themselves beyond their recognition, in the case of the educated selves, the tension between the knowledge of ignorance and the desire to be the person play an important role in self-deception. No one except the sage is free from self-deception. The thesis deals with the issue of self-knowing as a scarce possibility.