Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 15, 1990

Brian P. McLaughlin
Pages 115-126

Incontinent Belief

Alfred Mele has recentIy attempted to direct attention to a neglected species of irrational belief which he calls ‘incontinent belief’. He has devoted a paper and an entire chapter (chapter eight) of his book, Irrationality (Oxford University Press, 1987) to explaining its logical possibility. In what follows, I will appeal to familiar facts about the difference between belief and action to make a case that it is entirely unproblematic that incontinent belief is logically possible. In the process, I will call into question the philosophical intercst of incontinent belief. If what I say is correct, incontinent belief does not warrant the attention of philosophers of mind.