Perspectives on the past: A study of the spatial perspectival characteristics of recollective memories
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind and Language 22 (2):173-206 (2007)
The following paper considers one important feature of our experiential or ‘recollective’ memories, namely their spatial perspectival characteristics. I begin by considering the ‘Past-Dependency-Claim’, which states that every recollective memory (or ‘R-memory’) has its spatial perspectival characteristics in virtue of the subject’s present awareness of the spatial perspectival characteristics of a relevant past perceptual experience. Although the Past-Dependency-Claim might for various reasons seem particularly attractive, I show that it is false. I then proceed to develop and defend the ‘Present-Dependency-Claim’, namely the claim that the spatial perspectival characteristics of an R-memory depend on the spatial perspectival characteristics of perceptual experiences that the subject has at the time at which the R-memory occurs. Lastly, I discuss the phenomenon of so-called ‘observer-memories’, which presents a special challenge for any attempt to account for the spatial perspectival characteristics of R-memories. I argue that we have no good reason to deny that the relevant experiences should count as memories, and I show that we can account for the spatial perspectival characteristics of observer-memories with the help of the ‘Present-Dependency-Claim’. More generally, the paper shows that certain events that occur in a subject’s mental life (namely, a subject’s R-memories) are necessarily dependent on other events that occur in the relevant subject’s mental life (namely, on certain perceptual experiences). This more general conclusion in turn should be relevant for any attempt to develop an appropriate account of a subject’s mental life as a whole.
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References found in this work BETA
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Citations of this work BETA
John Sutton (2010). Observer Perspective and Acentred Memory: Some Puzzles About Point of View in Personal Memory. Philosophical Studies 148 (1):27 - 37.
Melanie Rosen & John Sutton (2013). Self‐Representation and Perspectives in Dreams. Philosophy Compass 8 (11):1041-1053.
Dorothea Debus (2013). Thinking About the Past and Experiencing the Past. Mind and Language 28 (1):20-54.
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