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    #1

    If deluding

    Hello,
    My friend and I are translating a book about self-justification to Arabic "Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)" and had quite an argument about the meaning of "if self-deluding" in the following:

    Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension that occurs whenever a person holds two cognitions (ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions) that are psychologically inconsistent, such as "Smoking is a dumb thing to do because it could kill me" and "I smoke two packs a day." Dissonance produces mental discomfort, ranging from minor pangs to deep anguish; people don't rest easy until they find a way to reduce it. In this example, the most direct way for a smoker to reduce dissonance is by quitting. But if she has tried to quit and failed, now she must reduce dissonance by convincing herself that smoking isn't really so harmful, or that smoking is worth the risk because it helps her relax or prevents her from gaining weight (and after all, obesity is a health risk, too), and so on. Most smokers manage to reduce dissonance in many such ingenious, if self-deluding, ways.
    What does "if" here mean? "if" or "even if"?


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    #2

    Re: If deluding

    It could be expressed by "even though these are self-delusions".

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    #3

    Re: If deluding

    Doesn't it mean "They are ingenious if they are self-deluding" because if the smoker takes the other simple way 'quitting' then there would be nothing ingenious about it?

    The ingenious ways here are the work-arounds and justifications for smoking.

    Thank you.


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    #4

    Re: If deluding

    No - they are ingenious because the person concerned knows he/she is wrong, but comes up with complicated reasons as to why he/she might be right. They are used as justifications for continuing to smoke, while the person knows that they do not have foundation in realities.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: If deluding

    Quote Originally Posted by comesbackatlast View Post
    Doesn't it mean "They are ingenious if they are self-deluding" because if the smoker takes the other simple way 'quitting' then there would be nothing ingenious about it?

    The ingenious ways here are the work-arounds and justifications for smoking.

    Thank you.
    No, it doesn't. It is as Anglika said.
    "It's ingenious, but it's self-deluding."
    Your interpretation might make better sense to you, but that is not the intended meaning.

    Oops, sorry Anglika

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    #6

    Re: If deluding

    I am aware of the meaning of the passage. The whole book talks about this idea but I thought that "if" here is subordinating but you say it is like a coordinating conjunction.

    Sorry for persisting but I just can't swallow it. If the writers want to say "even if" then why not just do it?

    Shall I whenever I meet "A, if B, is C" consider it "A is C even if B" rather than "A is C if B"?

    Does "I, if OK, will go to school" mean "I will go to school even if I am OK" rather than "I will go to school if I am OK"?

    Can't a regular sentence with "if" e.g. "I will play if I am healthy" be put as a parenthesis without changing the meaning?

    Thanks for your patience.

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    #7

    Re: If deluding

    Quote Originally Posted by comesbackatlast View Post
    I am aware of the meaning of the passage. The whole book talks about this idea but I thought that "if" here is subordinating but you say it is like a coordinating conjunction.

    Sorry for persisting but I just can't swallow it. If the writers want to say "even if" then why not just do it?
    You are a translator. You know that, in any language there are different ways of saying things. The writer knows that native speakers will understand this to mean "even if".

    Shall I whenever I meet "A, if B, is C" consider it "A is C even if B" rather than "A is C if B"?
    Yes, possibly, if it doesn't make sense as "A is C if B".
    "His violin playing was adequate, if a little out of tune."
    "It was a crucial, if lackluster, win by the Tigers."


    Does "I, if OK, will go to school" mean "I will go to school even if I am OK" rather than "I will go to school if I am OK"?
    No
    Can't a regular sentence with "if" e.g. "I will play if I am healthy" be put as a parenthesis without changing the meaning?
    Yes, it can.
    Thanks for your patience.
    Logic, Form and Grammar Note 2.

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    #8

    Re: If deluding

    Thanks alot. A new rule to learn, then. Thanks again.

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