David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy 81 (2):323-355 (2006)
Is it conceptually possible for one person to ‘remember’ the experiences of another person? Many philosophical discussions of personal identity suppose that this is possible. For example, some philosophers believe that our personal identity through time consists in the continuation of our mental lives, including the holding of memories over time. However, since a person’s memories are necessarily memories of her own experiences, a definition of personal identity in terms of memory risks circularity. To avoid this, we must invoke the concept of ‘quasi-memory’. From my quasi-memory of doing x, I cannot infer that I did x; but I can infer that somebody did x. It is then a further question as to whether the person who did x is me, the answer to which will depend upon what we believe personal identity to consist in. Quasi-memory, then, allows us to separate the concept of memory from the concept of personal identity
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