Psychological findings indicate that human thinkers are subject to many biases, e.g. group effects, racial bias, better-than-average bias, etc. This dissertation explores how learning such facts about oneself, and attempting to correct for these biases, can change one's relationship with oneself and lead to feelings of alienation.
In chapter one, I outline three possible methods of self-correction, and I explain how they contrast with ordinary deliberation. I distinguish between deliberation, which is a process of weighing reasons, and rule-governed forms of self-correction, which I compare to mathematical calculation. I suggest that thinkers use rule-governed self-correction because they distrust their deliberative faculties in specific ways.
In chapter two, I focus on one type of self-correction and argue that, in three respects, thinkers who engage in this form of self-correction are unfortunate. First, such thinkers fail to grasp how certain considerations stand as reasons, and understanding reason-relationships is desirable. Second, distrusting oneself is unfortunate, particularly distrusting one's deliberative capacities, since one's sense of reasons reflects one's personal identity. In addition, I draw a connection between trust and optimism. Thirdly, such thinkers lack self-understanding, since one way that a person comes to understand herself is through the experience of being moved by reasons which reflect her values.
In chapter three, I consider the possibility that a thinker may not be able to make an accurate judgment as to whether she is biased because her judgment on the question, "Am I biased?" is, itself, biased. I suggest that, insofar as it stems from optimism about oneself and one's abilities, being biased about the question, "Am I biased?" can be a good thing. While being biased about the question, "Am I biased?" may reflect optimism, ordinary bias (e.g., group effects, racial bias, etc.) does not exhibit this redeeming quality.
In the conclusion, I revisit the problem of alienation. I suggest that, while learning that one is biased changes the character of one's alienation, any thinker who is biased (and doesn't know she is biased) is already alienated from herself.