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The eminent sixteenth-century philosopher and jurist Jean Bodin denoun

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The eminent sixteenth-century philosopher and jurist Jean Bodin denoun  [#permalink]

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The eminent sixteenth-century philosopher and jurist Jean Bodin denounced those who scoffed at the belief in the existence of witches. Their protestations of disbelief, he declared, showed that they were most likely witches themselves. He wrote of the pact that ―confessed‖ witches said they had signed with Satan. It obliged them to ridicule all talk of witchcraft as superstitious invention and contrary to reason. They persuaded many naive persons, Bodin insisted, whose arrogance and self-deception was such that they would dismiss as impossible even the actions of witches that were right before their eyes.

Because self-deception and secrecy from self-point to self-inflicted and often harmful ignorance, they invite moral concern: judgments about responsibility, efforts to weigh the degree of harm imposed by such ignorance, and questions of how to help reverse it. If the false belief is judged harmless and even pleasurable, as may be the case with the benevolent light in which most of us see our minor foibles, few would consider interfering. But clearly there are times when people are dangerously wrong about themselves. The anorexic girl close to starving to death who thinks that she looks fat in the mirror, and the alcoholic who denies having a drinking problem, are both in need of help.

Yet the help cannot consist merely in interference, but must somehow bring about a recognition on the individuals' part of their need and the role they play in not perceiving their problem accurately. Judgments about when and how to try to help people one takes to be in self-inflicted danger depend on the nature and the seriousness of the danger, as well as on how rational one thinks they are. To attribute self-deception to people is to regard them as less than rational concerning the danger one takes them to be in, and makes intervention, by contrast, seem more legitimate. But this is itself dangerous because of the difficulties of establishing that there is self-deception in the first place.

Some feel as certain that anyone who does not believe in their deity, their version of the inevitable march of history, or their views of the human psyche deceives himself as they might feel about the selfdeception of the anorexic and the alcoholic. Frequently, the more improbable their own views, the stronger is their need to see the world as divided up into those who perceive the self-evident and those who persist in deluding themselves.

Aiding the victims of such imputed self-deception can be hard to resist for true believers and enthusiasts of every persuasion. If they come to believe that all who do not share their own views are not only wrong but actually know they are wrong in one part of their selves that keeps the other in the dark, they can assume that it is an act of altruism to help the victimized, deceived part see through the secrecy and the self-deception. Zealots can draw on their imputing self-deception to nonbelievers to nourish any tendency they might have to a conspiracy theory. If they see the self—their own and that of others—as a battleground for a conspiracy, they may then argue that anyone who disagrees with them thereby offers proof that his mind has been taken over by the forces they are striving to combat.

It is not long before they come to see the most disparate events not only as connected but as intended to connect. There are no accidents, they persuade themselves. Calling something trivial or far-fetched counts, for holders of such theories, as further evidence of its significance. And denying what they see as self-evident is still more conclusive proof.
1. Focus on the main ideas of the passage. Which of the following general theories would be LEAST in disagreement with the theme of the passage?
A. One‘s own beliefs shape one‘s judgment of the beliefs of others.
B. One should strive to rid oneself of all self-deception.
C. One is always aware at least to some degree of one‘s self-delusions.
D. One can never conclusively show that another person is deceiving
himself.
E. One should never interfere in other people‘s affairs

2. Suppose one knows that a friend is not nearly as physically fit as the friend believes himself to be. According to the passage, one should:
A. attempt to persuade the friend that he is deceiving himself.
B. prevent the friend from engaging in strenuous physical activity.
C. disabuse the friend of his belief if his lack of fitness endangers him.
D. realize that one may be wrong about the friend‘s level of physical
fitness.
E. tell the friend frankly on his face that he is wrong in his belief

3. Based on the information in the passage, the author believes that someone with very unorthodox views of the human psyche is:
A. probably suffering from harmless self-deception.
B. acting as irrationally as an alcoholic or an anorexic.
C. likely to perceive differing views as self-delusional.
D. unable to establish the presence of self-delusion in others.
E. in need of psychiatric help


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Re: The eminent sixteenth-century philosopher and jurist Jean Bodin denoun  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Oct 2018, 11:45

Topic and Scope

- The author argues that though self-deception does exist, many
zealots mistakenly persuade themselves that those who do not share their extreme
beliefs are self-deceived.

Mapping the Passage


¶1 provides an example of someone with extreme beliefs about witches who imagined
a conspiracy among those who didn‘t share those beliefs.
¶s2-4 note that self-deception can be harmless or dangerous and argue that
judgments about another‘s self-deception can be clouded by one‘s own personal
beliefs.
¶5 argues that those with extreme beliefs may consider themselves altruistic by
persuading others that they are deceiving themselves by not sharing those beliefs.
¶6 suggests a sort of snowball effect that reassures those with extreme beliefs that
they are in fact correct particularly when challenged.
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The eminent sixteenth-century philosopher and jurist Jean Bodin denoun  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Oct 2018, 11:47

Answers and Explanations


1)

A rare global question. Predict by summarizing the main point of the passage:
Personal beliefs cloud our opinion of whether others are self-deceived. (A)
immediately rewards the careful prediction.
(A): The correct answer
(B): Distortion. The author argues in ¶2 that some self-deception is benign, and
this isn‘t the focus of the whole passage anyway.
(C): Faulty Use of Detail. This is the belief of those with strong beliefs of their own,
as described in ¶5. It‘s not the point of the whole passage, however.
(D): Distortion. Another answer choice that doesn‘t summarize the passage. The
author never makes this claim.
(E): Extreme language and not supported by the passage.

2)

What would the author suggest one do in response to someone else‘s selfdeception?
Predict based on ¶2: If the deception is harmful, intervene. If not,
hands off. Applying this rule to the specific situation yields a course of action
identical to (C).
(A): Distortion. The author would argue that this should be done only if the friend
is in danger, a qualification added in the correct answer choice.
(B): Out of Scope. Deception is the focus of the passage; this answer choice veers
off topic.
(C): The correct answer
(D): Distortion. The author argues that people can be wrong about the beliefs of
others. In this case, the deception is cantered on a physical state which the
question says can be known.
(E): Incorrect, as described above.

3)

How would the author characterize ―very unorthodox views‖? Most likely, she‘d
classify them as extreme views. What is the author‘s main point about those with
extreme views? They perceive others as self-deluded and attempt to rescue them
from the supposed deception (¶5). (C) captures the first part of the prediction.
(A): Faulty Use of Detail. Though the author argues that self-deception can be
harmless, she doesn‘t suggest that those with extreme views are probably
suffering harmlessly from self-deception.
(B): Faulty Use of Detail. Though the author argues that alcoholics and anorexics
do behave irrationally, she doesn‘t suggest that those with extreme views are
suffering from the same sort of self-deception.
(C): The correct answer
(D): Opposite. The author suggests that the person with extreme views would at
least persuade themselves that others were deluding themselves.
(E): Out of scope.

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The eminent sixteenth-century philosopher and jurist Jean Bodin denoun &nbs [#permalink] 22 Oct 2018, 11:47
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