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What is the meaning of "notwithstanding" in the following sentence:

Most of our platitudes notwithstanding, self-deception remains the most difficult deception.

The quote is taken from the essay "On Self-Respect" by Joan Didion.

The dictionary definition of the word is: in spite of. However, I do not see how that makes sense here:

Most of our platitudes in spite of, self-deception remains the most difficult deception.

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It's going to make more sense once you get the sentence structure right - even though "notwithstanding" is synonymous with "in spite of", the two phrases differ a little grammar-wise.

In spite of most of our platitudes, self-deception remains the most difficult deception.

In other words - no matter what kind of clichéd truths one tells themselves, it's not easy to force yourself to believe something that isn't true.

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  • Does notwithstanding always go at the end? Nov 27, 2016 at 0:06
  • Notwithstanding something... or Something notwithstanding.... Both are possible.
    – TimR
    Nov 27, 2016 at 3:02

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