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Abstract

This paper argues that it is possible to knowingly believe something while judging that one ought not to believe it and (so) viewing the belief as manifesting a sort of failure. I offer examples showing that such ‘alienated belief’ has several potential sources. I contrast alienated belief with self-deception, incontinent (or akratic) belief and half-belief. I argue that the possibility of alienated belief is compatible with the so-called ‘transparency’ of first-person reflection on belief, and that the descriptive and expressive difficulties it involves stem from well-understood sources. I conclude by speculating that endorsed belief is in important respects like intentional action. Reflection on the possibility of alienated belief may thus help us to see one respect in which an agent can be responsible for her attitudes.