I critically discuss both the particular doctrinal and general meta-philosophical or methodological tenets of Mark Johnston's paper "Human Beings", attending to several weaknesses in his argument. One of the most important amongst them is an apparent reliance on a substitution of identicals within an intensional context as he argues that continuity of functioning brain is essential to the persistence of "Human Beings" as allegedly singled out by his methodology; another equally important is a simple lacuna in place of an argument (...) that candidate entities for re-identification by means we take for granted in the case of persons cannot be what I call "mentalistically" individuated. (shrink)
The paper aims to provide an account of the phenomenological differences between perception, recognition and recall. In the first section, recall is distinguished from non-experiential forms of memory. In the second section, it is argued that we can't distinguish perceptual experience from the experience of recall by means of perception's present tense content because it is possible to perceive as well as to recall the past. The Lockean theory of recall as a revival of previous perceptual experience is (...) then introduced, applied and defended against objections. Next, recall is distinguish from memory recognition. Finally, some relevant psychological data is described. (shrink)
This paper develops the thesis that personal identity is neither to be taken in terms of an unchanging self-sufficient ‘substance’ nor in terms of selfhood ‘without substance,’ i.e. as fluctuating processes of pure relationality and subject-less activity. Instead, identity is taken as self-transformation that is bound to particular embodied individuals and surpasses them as individuated entities. The paper is structured in three parts. Part I describes the experiential givenness of conflicts that support our sense of self-transformation. While the first (...) part develops an inter-subjective topography of emotional movements, the second part pays attention to their temporal dimension. We work with conflicts and get transformed by them also in the way we remember them. Part II focuses on the process of self-understanding that accompanies conflicts and their metamorphosis in memory. Part III compares and discusses different models of a ‘relational ontology’ of the person, which question the idea that we are defined only by how we define ourselves—just as they question the idea that one’s identity is independent of how one relates to one’s having changed. (shrink)
Objectives: While mindfulness-based interventions have received widespread application in both clinical and non-clinical populations, the mechanism by which mindfulness meditation improves well-being remains elusive. One possibility is that mindfulness training alters the processing of emotional information, similar to prevailing cognitive models of depression and anxiety. The aim of this study was to investigating the effects of mindfulness training on emotional information processing (i.e. memory) biases in relation to both clinical symptomatology and well-being in comparison to active control conditions. Methods: (...) Fifty-eight university students (28 female, age = 20.1 ± 2.7 years) participated in either a 12-week course containing a "meditation laboratory" or an active control course with similar content or experiential practice laboratory format (music). Participants completed an emotional word recall task and self-report questionnaires of well-being and clinical symptoms before and after the 12-week course. Results: Meditators showed greater increases in positive word recall compared to controls F(1, 56) = 6.6, p = .02). The meditation group increased significantly more on measures of well-being [F(1, 56) = 6.6, p = .01], with a marginal decrease in depression and anxiety [(F(1, 56) = 3.0, p = .09)] compared to controls. Increased positive word recall was associated with increased psychological well-being [r = 0.31, p = .02] and decreased clinical symptoms [r = -0.29, p = .03]. Conclusion: Mindfulness training was associated with greater improvements in processing efficiency for positively valenced stimuli than active control conditions. This change in emotional information processing was associated with improvements in psychological well-being and less depression and anxiety. These data suggest that mindfulness training may improve well-being via changes in emotional information processing. (shrink)
During times of emotional stress, individuals often engage in emotion regulation to reduce the experiential and physiological impact of negative emotions. Interestingly, emotion regulation strategies also influence memory encoding of the event. Cognitive reappraisal is associated with enhanced memory while expressive suppression is associated with impaired explicit memory of the emotional event. However, the mechanism by which these emotion regulation strategies affect memory is unclear. We used event-related fMRI to investigate the neural mechanisms that give (...) rise to memory formation during emotion regulation. Twenty-five participants viewed negative pictures while alternately engaging in cognitive reappraisal, expressive suppression, or passive viewing. As part of the subsequent memory design, participants returned to the laboratory two weeks later for a surprise memory test. Behavioral results showed a reduction in negative affect and a retention advantage for reappraised stimuli relative to the other conditions. Imaging results showed that successful encoding during reappraisal was uniquely associated with greater co-activation of the left inferior frontal gyrus, amygdala and hippocampus, suggesting a possible role for elaborative encoding of negative memories. This study provides neurobehavioral evidence that engaging in cognitive reappraisal is advantageous to both affective and mnemonic processes. (shrink)
Common wisdom, philosophical analysis and psychological research share the view that memory is subjectively positioned toward the past: Specifically, memory enables one to become re-acquainted with the objects and events of his or her past. In this paper I call this assumption into question. As I hope to show, memory has been designed by natural selection not to relive the past, but rather to anticipate and plan for future contingencies -- a decidedly future-oriented mode of subjective temporality. (...) This is not to say memory makes no reference to the past. But, I argue, past-oriented subjectivity is a by-product of a system designed by natural selection to help us face and respond to the “now and the next”. I discuss the implications of the proposed temporal realignment for research agendas as well as the potential limitations of measures designed to explore memory by focusing on its retentive capabilities. (shrink)
Sometimes we remember past objects or events in a vivid, experiential way. The present paper addresses some fundamental questions about the metaphysics of such experiential or 'recollective' memories. More specifically, it develops the 'Relational Account' of recollective memory, which consists of the following three claims. (1) A subject who recollectively remembers (or 'R-remembers') a past object or event stands in an experiential relation (namely, a 'recollective relation') to the relevant past object or event. (2) The R-remembered (...) object or event itself is a part of the R-memory; that is, the subject's present R-memory is partly constituted by the relevant past object or event. (3) When a subject R-remembers a past object, the past object is a constitutive part of the conscious experience itself ; that is, the object is immediately available to the subject in conscious experience. In developing the Relational Account, the present paper hopes to make a substantial contribution to any attempt to account for the nature of recollective memory. Furthermore, in order to explain how a subject could understand the beliefs that she forms about the past on the basis of an R-memory, and how a subject could, on the basis of an R-memory, gain any knowledge about the past, we arguably also need to rely on the Relational Account of recollective memory. Thus, the Relational Account will also play an important role in an attempt to account for various other ways in which a subject might be related to the past in general, and to her own past in particular. Standing in such relations to the past is, in turn, a central feature of our human existence. Ultimately, therefore, the Relational Account of recollective memory should also play a crucial role in furthering our understanding of ourselves, and of our own existence in time. (shrink)
The functional theory of memory set out in Glenberg's target article accords with recent proposals in the developmental literature with respect to event memory, conceptualization, and language acquisition from an embodied, experiential view. The theory, however, needs to be supplemented with a recognition of the sociocultural contribution to these cognitive processes and emerging structures.
Religionists often presuppose that “mysticism” aims at somehow emptying the mind. In the light of evidence, however, meditation seems rather to consist of ritualized action without an explicit emphasis on subjective experience. Boyer & Lienard's (B&L's) theory of ritualized action as “swamping” working memory thus might help explain the effects of meditation without postulating experiential goals the “mystics” obviously do not have. (Published Online February 8 2007).
An examination of the debates over the so-called 'false' memory syndrome. In this paper, I concur that memory is malleable, but interrogate notions of truth and falsity underlying standards used to evaluate the accuracy of memories of abuse. Such standards divert us, I suggest, from recognizing the truth behind widespread recollections of abuse at the hands of patriarchy.
Using a multiple-trial stock market decision paradigm, the possibility that counterfactual thinking can be dysfunctional for learning and performance by distorting the processing of outcome information was examined. Correlational (Study 1) and experimental (Study 2) evidence suggested that counterfactuals are associated with a decrease in experiential learning. When counterfactuals were made salient, participants displayed significantly poorer performance compared to their counterparts for whom counterfactuals were relatively less salient. A counterfactual salience ? need for cognition (NFC) interaction qualified these findings. (...) High NFC participants outperformed their counterparts when counterfactuals were not salient. Evidence for a memory-based mechanism was also supported. (shrink)
In this essay I argue that the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind eloquently and powerfully suggests a controversial philosophical position: that the harm caused by voluntary memory removal cannot be entirely understood in terms of harms that are consciously experienced. I explore this possibility through a discussion of the film that includes consideration of Nagel and Nozick on unexperienced harms, Kant on duties to oneself, and Murdoch on the requirements of morality.
According to memory foundationalism, seeming to remember that P is prima facie justification for believing that P. There is a common objection to this theory: If I previously believed that P carelessly (i.e. without justification) and later seem to remember that P, then (according to memory foundationalism) I have somehow acquired justification for a previously unjustified belief. In this paper, I explore this objection. I begin by distinguishing between two versions of it: One where I seem to remember (...) that P while also seeming to remember being careless in my original believing that P and the other where I seem to remember that P while not seeming to remember my past carelessness. I argue that the former case is the real challenge for memory foundationalism. After establishing the case of unforgotten carelessness as objection to memory foundationalism, I recast memory foundationalism in way that allows it to escape this objection. (shrink)
Memory seems intuitively to consist in the preservation of some proposition (in the case of semantic memory) or sensory image (in the case of episodic memory). However, this intuition faces fatal difficulties. Semantic memory has to be updated to reflect the passage of time: it is not just preservation. And episodic memory can occur in a format (the observer perspective) in which the remembered image is different from the original sensory image. These difficulties indicate that (...)memory cannot be preserved content. It is proposed that what is preserved in memory isan underlying "trace", and that in every act of remembering, memorial content is reconstructed from the preserved trace. (shrink)
A monumental work by an important modern philosopher, Matter and Memory (1896) represents one of the great inquiries into perception and memory, movement and time, matter and mind. Nobel Prize-winner Henri Bergson surveys these independent but related spheres, exploring the connection of mind and body to individual freedom of choice. Bergson’s efforts to reconcile the facts of biology to a theory of consciousness offered a challenge to the mechanistic view of nature, and his original and innovative views exercised (...) a profound influence on other philosophers--including James, Whitehead, and Santayana--as well as novelists such as Dos Passos and Proust. Matter and Memory is essential to an understanding of Bergson’s philosophy and its legacy. (shrink)
This paper surveys the impact on neuropsychology of Wittgenstein's elucidations of memory. Wittgenstein discredited the storage and imprint models of memory, dissolved the conceptual link between memory and mental images or representations and, upholding the context-sensitivity of memory, made room for a family resemblance concept of memory, where remembering can also amount to doing or saying something. While neuropsychology is still generally under the spell of archival and physiological notions of memory, Wittgenstein's reconceptions can (...) be seen at work in its leading-edge practitioners. However, neuroscientists, generally, are finding memory difficult to demarcate from other cognitive and noncognitive processes, and I suggest this is largely due to their considering automatic responses as part of memory, termed nondeclarative or implicit memory. Taking my lead from Wittgenstein's On Certainty, I argue that there is only remembering where there is also some kind of mnemonic effort or attention, and, therefore, that so-called implicit memory is not memory at all, but a basic, noncognitive certainty. (shrink)
This paper introduces a new, expanded range of relevant cognitive psychological research on collaborative recall and social memory to the philosophical debate on extended and distributed cognition. We start by examining the case for extended cognition based on the complementarity of inner and outer resources, by which neural, bodily, social, and environmental resources with disparate but complementary properties are integrated into hybrid cognitive systems, transforming or augmenting the nature of remembering or decision-making. Adams and Aizawa, noting this distinctive complementarity (...) argument, say that they agree with it completely: but they describe it as “a non-revolutionary approach” which leaves “the cognitive psychology of memory as the study of processes that take place, essentially without exception, within nervous systems.” In response, we carve out, on distinct conceptual and empirical grounds, a rich middle ground between internalist forms of cognitivism and radical anti-cognitivism. Drawing both on extended cognition literature and on Sterelny’s account of the “scaffolded mind” (this issue), we develop a multidimensional framework for understanding varying relations between agents and external resources, both technological and social. On this basis we argue that, independent of any more “revolutionary” metaphysical claims about the partial constitution of cognitive processes by external resources, a thesis of scaffolded or distributed cognition can substantially influence or transform explanatory practice in cognitive science. Critics also cite various empirical results as evidence against the idea that remembering can extend beyond skull and skin. We respond with a more principled, representative survey of the scientific psychology of memory, focussing in particular on robust recent empirical traditions for the study of collaborative recall and transactive social memory. We describe our own empirical research on socially distributed remembering, aimed at identifying conditions for mnemonic emergence in collaborative groups. Philosophical debates about extended, embedded, and distributed cognition can thus make richer, mutually beneficial contact with independently motivated research programs in the cognitive psychology of memory. (shrink)
Memory of past episodes provides a sense of personal identity — the sense that I am the same person as someone in the past. We present a neurological case study of a patient who has accurate memories of scenes from his past, but for whom the memories lack the sense of mineness. On the basis of this case study, we propose that the sense of identity derives from two components, one delivering the content of the memory and the (...) other generating the sense of mineness. We argue that this new model of the sense of identity has implications for debates about quasi-memory. In addition, articulating the components of the sense of identity promises to bear on the extent to which this sense of identity provides evidence of personal identity. (shrink)
Defining consciousness along the lines of Nagel, an organism has consciousness iff there is something it is like to be that organism, I relate three types of consciousness (phenomenal, access and reflexive) to the three types of short-term memory (sensory memories, short-term working memory and the central executive). The suggestion is that these short-term memory stores may be a key feature of consciousness.
This paper is just a comment to the impressive work by A. C. Ehresmann and J.-P. Vanbremeersch on the theory of Memory Evolutive Systems (MES). MES are truly higher order systems. Hyperstructures represent a new concept which I introduced in order to capture the essence of what a higher order structure is—encompassing hierarchies and emergence. Hyperstructures are motivated by cobordism theory in topology and higher category theory. The morphism concept is replaced by the concept of a bond. In the (...) paper I briefly introduce hyperstructures motivated geometrically and suggest further developments of the MESs along these lines, which could widen up new areas of applications. (shrink)
Content externalism about memory says that the individuation of memory contents depends on relations the subject bears to his past environment. I defend externalism about memory by arguing that neither philosophical nor psychological considerations stand in the way of accepting the context dependency of memory that follows from externalism.
The notion of memory storage, central to most contemporary theories of remembering, is challenged from a philosophical perspective as being contradictory and untenable. It criticizes this storage hypothesis as relying upon a linear explanation of time, an assumption which results in infinite regression, solipsism, and a failure to contact the real past. A model based on the phenomenological viewpoints of Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty is offered as an alternative paradigm. Finally, a research method suggested by this descriptive approach (...) to memory is presented and illustrated. (shrink)
The purpose of this essay is to determine how we should construe the content of memories or, in other words, to determine what the intentional objects of memory are.1 The issue that will concern us is, then, analogous to the traditional philosophical question of whether perception directly puts us in cognitive contact with entities in the world or with entities in our own minds. As we shall see, there are some interesting aspects of the phenomenology and the epistemology of (...)memory, and I shall aim at a specification of the content of memories that is in accordance with those aspects of them. (shrink)
A sentence in the Resultative perfect licenses two inferences: (a) the occurrence of an event (b) the state caused by this event obtains at evaluation time. In this paper I show that this use of the perfect is subject to a large number of distributional restrictions that all serve to highlight the result inference at the expense of the event inference. Nevertheless, only the event inference determines the truth conditions of this use of the perfect, the result inference being a (...) unique type of conventional implicature. I argue furthermore that, since the result state is singular, the event that causes it must also be singular, whereas the Experiential perfect is purely quantificational. But in out-of-the-blue contexts the past tense is also normally interpreted as singular. This leads to a certain amount of competition between the Resultative perfect and the past tense, and it is this competition, I suggest, that maintains the conventional (non-truth conditional) result state inference. (shrink)
In The Blue Book, Wittgenstein defined a category of uses of “I” which he termed “I”-as-subject, contrasting them with “I”-as-object uses. The hallmark of this category is immunity to error through misidentification (IEM). This article extends Wittgenstein’s characterisation to the case of memory-judgments, discusses the significance of IEM for self-consciousness—developing the idea that having a first-person thought involves thinking about oneself in a distinctive way in which one cannot think of anyone or anything else—and refutes a common objection to (...) the claim that memory-judgments exhibit IEM. (shrink)
Why do major historical events such as the Holocaust occupy the forefront of the collective consciousness, while profound moments such as the Armenian genocide, the McCarthy era, and France's role in North Africa stand distantly behind? Is it possible that history "overly remembers" some events at the expense of others? A landmark work in philosophy, Paul Ricoeur's Memory, History, Forgetting examines this reciprocal relationship between remembering and forgetting, showing how it affects both the perception of historical experience and the (...) production of historical narrative. Memory, History, Forgetting , like its title, is divided into three major sections. Ricoeur first takes a phenomenological approach to memory and mnemonical devices. The underlying question here is how a memory of present can be of something absent, the past. The second section addresses recent work by historians by reopening the question of the nature and truth of historical knowledge. Ricoeur explores whether historians, who can write a history of memory, can truly break with all dependence on memory, including memories that resist representation. The third and final section is a profound meditation on the necessity of forgetting as a condition for the possibility of remembering, and whether there can be something like happy forgetting in parallel to happy memory. Throughout the book there are careful and close readings of the texts of Aristotle and Plato, of Descartes and Kant, and of Halbwachs and Pierre Nora. A momentous achievement in the career of one of the most significant philosophers of our age, Memory, History, Forgetting provides the crucial link between Ricoeur's Time and Narrative and Oneself as Another and his recent reflections on ethics and the problems of responsibility and representation. (shrink)
According to the theory Russell defends in The Analysis of Mind, ‘true memories’ (roughly, memories that are not remembering-hows) are recollections of past events accompanied by a feeling of familiarity. While memory images play a vital role in this account, Russell does not pay much attention to the fact that imagery plays different roles in different sorts of memory. In most cases that Russell considers, memory is based on an image that serves as a datum (imagebased memories), (...) but there are other cases in which memory judgment requires an image without being based on it (answer-memories). A good example for the former is when a person, asked what the colour of the sea was last afternoon, recalls an image and forms a judgment on this basis. In the second case she may recognize the sea and entertain a memory image of it without ‘reading off’ the memory judgment from this picture. That is, the image does not prompt but itself is part of the propositional content of answer memories. Since in this latter case the feeling of familiarity is constitutive of the recollection but cannot serve as its explanans, answer memories do not conform to Russell’s account. According to Lindsay Judson this is not a vice of the theory, since Russell never meant to extend it to answer memories. Despite having a certain appeal of benevolence, Judson’s interpretation is not supported by textual evidence. Taking side with David Pears, I will argue that Russell did not properly differentiate between image-based memory and answer memory, and illegitimately extended his theory to the latter. (shrink)
The relationship between perceptual experience and memory can seem to pose a chal- lenge for conceptualism, the thesis that perceptual experiences require the actualization of conceptual capacities. Since subjects can recall features of past experiences for which they lacked corresponding concepts at the time of the original experience, it would seem that a subject’s conceptual capacities do not impose a limit on what he or she can experience perceptually. But this conclusion ignores the fact that concepts can be composed (...) of other simpler concepts that a subject possessed earlier, and that de- monstrative capacities can explain how a subject can experience a particular feature of her environment, even when she lacks a fully general concept for that feature. Using these resources, conceptualism can explain the relation between perceptual experience and memory. Nevertheless, a puzzle remains for the defender of conceptualism. A cer- tain view about the relation between perceptual experience and mental imagery in epi- sodic memory – that imagery in recall matches the experience retained in it – can make it difficult to understand how conceptualism could be true. For if a subject’s conceptual capacities determine what the phenomenology of an experience (or memory of it) is like, then one would expect a perceptual experience and its recall in memory to differ in phenomenology if they involve different concepts. In this essay, I solve this puzzle for conceptualism by undermining the assumption that there is a match between im- agery in episodic memory and the phenomenal character of experience. (shrink)
Preface/Introduction: The question under discussion is metaphysical and truly elemental. It emerges in two aspects — how did we come to be conscious of our own existence, and, as a deeper corollary, do existence and awareness necessitate each other? I am bold enough to explore these questions and I invite you to come along; I make no claim to have discovered absolute answers. However, I do believe I have created here a compelling interpretation. You’ll have to judge for yourself. -/- (...) What follows is the presentation of three essays I have worked on over the past several years seeing publication for the first time. “Hollows of Experience” was written first as an invited chapter for a collection on the ontology of consciousness. However, when cuts became necessary, my chapter got the knife. Its length has prohibited it from publication in any print journal. “Myth and Mind” was written next as a journal article, but as my involvement with it grew so did its length, so it has also idled on my websty awaiting its call. “From Panexperientialism to Conscious Experience” was written most recently, but it is the only one to have been available to the public elsewhere than my own website. Under the name, “The Continuum of Experience”, it was Target Article #95 on the recently closed Karl Jaspers Forum (for discussion purposes only). -/- I have put them in a different sequence here, for reasons of logical sense. Up first, “Panexperientialism” deals with an idea difficult for many to accept, namely that conscious experience is a particular mode of symbolically reflected experience that is largely unique to our species. However, I aver that experienced sensation in itself (as found, for example, in autonomic sensory response systems) goes “all the way down” into nature, and thus the title, panexperientialism. -/- Understanding this idea is helpful to dealing with the focus on language in Part I of “Hollows”, next, since here speech and general symbolic interaction in general are found to be the catalysts for the creation of our consciously experienced world (our “lived reality”). In Part II, however, I explore how experienced sensations must be coeval with existence, and, with even greater temerity, how all this sensational existence might have arisen within some literally inconceivable background of awareness-in-itself that yet has a dynamism that occasionally breaks into existence as experiential events and entities. (The latter may sound wacky, but physicists and cosmologists are themselves attempting to come to terms with that which seethes with vast potential energy in what they refer to as the quantum vacuum.) -/- “Myth and Mind” was put third since it deals with a major lacuna in “Hollows” — that presumed prehistoric period when members of our species made the painful crossing of the symbolic threshold into the beginnings of cultural consciousness. Speech plays a central role here, too, but I look more at narrative structures from the dawn of self-awareness when ritual and myth became vital to human survival. Why would fantastic stories and bizarre rituals be necessary? I speculate that growing foresight led to the unavoidable realization of certain mortality, from which, in turn, emerged the secondary realization that we were now alive. In contrast to our yet-to-come death, we have life here and now, and by ritually identifying with a symbolically expanded mythic, i.e., sacred, reality, we may continue to live on after bodily death, just as our ancestors and loved ones must also do. Language and mythmaking are necessary to avoid mortal despair and they remain at the core of human consciousness. -/- As Ernst Cassirer (1944) has noted, language and myth are “twin creatures”, both metaphoric webs over a reality we can never wholly comprehend. We live in the symbolic and construct our works of imagination and wars of conquest to make life meaningful, to feel immortal, and to sense that we ourselves participate in a reality greater than ourselves. No doubt we do, but this does not mean our culturally constructed self-identities survive the death of our bodies, and it does not imply that our symbolic concepts can ever indicate the ultimate truth. We simply must symbolize an extended reality that was sacred to our ancestors: “Is it not our way, as illusory as it may be, to force continuance on our world and our life in the face of their inevitable ending? Are we not compelled to extend those imaginary horizons as far as we can despite the terror and the sometime joy their extension incites? Is their closure not a form of death?” (Crapanzano, p. 210) -/- Of course, this leaves me in the uncomfortable position of being forced to admit that this venture of mine must inevitably be another attempt at meaningful mythmaking. But what else could it be? This is certainly not a scientific proof though it is indeed an academically rigorous exploration. (Just try to count the citations!) I hope the reader will judge my thesis on the basis of its coherence, the sense of meaning it evokes, my intellectual responsibility, and, finally, the engagement it inspires. If you have read my expositions and found yourself immersed in the timeless questions I here call forth, I would call these writings successful (even if you violently disagree with my answers). -/- I am very grateful to Huping Hu for granting me this special issue of JCER in which to present my ideas in some detail. He has patiently dealt with my exuberant approach and allowed the many changes I kept coming up with right until the final publication date. I also wish to thank the many potential commentators who politely replied to my invitation, and, even more, I thank those who made time to write actual commentaries. -/- References -/- Cassirer, E. (1944). An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture. New Haven/London: Yale UP. -/- Crapanzano, V. (2004). Imaginative Horizons: An Essay in Literary-Philosophical Anthropology. Chicago: U of Chicago Press. -/- Gregory M. Nixon University of Northern British Columbia Prince George, British Columbia, Canada Email: email@example.com Websty: http://members.shaw.ca/doknyx. (shrink)
There is considerable contemporary interest in memory, both within the academy and in the public sphere. Little has been written by moral philosophers on the subject, however. In this timely book, Jeffrey Blustein explores the moral aspects and implications of memory, both personal and collective. He provides a systematic and philosophically rigorous account of a morality of memory, focusing on the value of memory, its relationship to identity, and the responsibilities associated with memory.
Recent studies have shown that schizophrenia may be a disease affecting the states of consciousness. The present study is aimed at investigating metamemory, i.e., the knowledge about one's own memory capabilities, in patients with schizophrenia. The accuracy of the Confidence level (CL) in the correctness of the answers provided during a recall phase, and the predictability of the Feeling of Knowing (FOK) when recall fails were measured using a task consisting of general information questions and assessing semantic memory. (...) Nineteen outpatients were paired with 19 control subjects with respect to age, sex, and education. Results showed that patients with schizophrenia exhibited an impaired semantic memory. CL ratings as well as CL and FOK accuracy were not significantly different in the schizophrenic and the control groups. However, FOK ratings were significantly reduced for the patient group, and discordant FOK judgments were also observed more frequently. Such results suggest that FOK judgments are impaired in patients with schizophrenia, which confirms that schizophrenia is an illness characterized by an impaired conscious awareness of one's own knowledge. (shrink)
Some theorists who emphasize the complexity of biological and cognitive systems and who advocate the employment of the tools of dynamical systems theory in explaining them construe complexity and reduction as exclusive alternatives. This paper argues that reduction, an approach to explanation that decomposes complex activities and localizes the components within the complex system, is not only compatible with an emphasis on complexity, but provides the foundation for dynamical analysis. Explanation via decomposition and localization is nonetheless extremely challenging, and an (...) analysis of recent cognitive neuroscience research on memory is used to illustrate what is involved. Memory researchers split between advocating memory systems and advocating memory processes, and I argue that it is the latter approach that provides the critical sort of decomposition and localization for explaining memory. The challenges of linking distinguishable functions with brain processes is illustrated by two examples: competing hypotheses about the contribution of the hippocampus and competing attempts to link areas in frontal cortex with memory processing. (shrink)
Long-Term Potentiation (LTP) is a kind of synaptic plasticity that many contemporary neuroscientists believe is a component in mechanisms of memory. This essay describes the discovery of LTP and the development of the LTP research program. The story begins in the 1950's with the discovery of synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus (a medial temporal lobe structure now associated with memory), and it ends in 1973 with the publication of three papers sketching the future course of the LTP research (...) program. The making of LTP was a protracted affair. Hippocampal synaptic plasticity was initially encountered as an experimental tool, then reported as a curiosity, and finally included in the ontic store of the neurosciences. Early researchers were not investigating the hippocampus in search of a memory mechanism; rather, they saw the hippocampus as a useful experimental model or as a structure implicated in the etiology of epilepsy. The link between hippocampal synaptic plasticity and learning or memory was a separate conceptual achievement. That link was formulated in at least three different ways at different times: reductively (claiming that plasticity is identical to learning), analogically (claiming that plasticity is an example or model of learning), and mechanistically (claiming that plasticity is a component in learning or memory mechanisms). The hypothesized link with learning or memory, coupled with developments in experimental techniques and preparations, shaped how researchers understood LTP itself. By 1973, the mechanistic formulation of the link between LTP and memory provided an abstract framework around which findings from multiple perspectives could be integrated into a multifield research program. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to show that consciousness entails self-consciousness by focusing on the relationship between consciousness and memory. More specifically, I addreess the following questions: (1) does consciousness require episodic memory?; and (2) does episodic memory require self-consciousness? With the aid of some Kantian considerations and recent empirical data, it is argued that consciousness does require episodic memory. This is done after defining episodic memory and distinguishing it from other types of (...) class='Hi'>memory. An affirmative answer to (2) is also warranted especially in the light of the issues raised in answering (1). I claim that 'consciousness entails self-consciousness' is thereby shown via the route through episodic memory, i.e. via affirmative answers to (1) and (2). My aim is to revive this Kantian thesis and to bring together current psychological research on amnesia with traditional philosophical perspectives on consciousness and memory. (shrink)
Sometimes I remember my past experiences from an ‘observer’ perspective, seeing myself in the remembered scene. This paper analyses the distinction in personal memory between such external observer visuospatial perspectives and ‘field’ perspectives, in which I experience the remembered actions and events as from my original point of view. It argues that Richard Wollheim’s related distinction between centred and acentred memory fails to capture the key phenomena, and criticizes Wollheim’s reasons for doubting that observer ‘memories’ are genuine personal (...) memories. Since field perspectives in personal memory are also likely to be the product of constructive processes, we should reject the common assumption that such constructive processes inevitably bring distortion and error. Yet field perspectives tend to be treated as privileged also in the domains of memory for skilled movement, and memory for trauma. In each case, it is argued that visuospatial perspective in personal memory should be distinguished from other kinds of perspective such as kinesthetic perspective and emotional perspective. (shrink)
What characterizes most technical or theoretical accounts of memory is their reliance upon an internal storage model. Psychologists and neurophysiologists have suggested neural traces (either dynamic or static) as the mechanism for this storage, and designers of artificial intelligence have relied upon the same general model, instantiated magnetically or electronically instead of neurally, to do the same job. Both psychology and artificial intelligence design have heretofore relied, without much question, upon the idea that memory is to be understood (...) as a matter of internal storage. In what follows, I shall first sketch the most important reasons for skepticism about this model, and I shall then propose an outline of an alternative way of talking about memory. This will provide an appropriate framework for suggesting a few implications for future work in artificial intelligence. (shrink)
The purpose of this essay is to clarify the notion of mnemonic content. Memories have content. However, it is not clear whether memories are about past events in the world, past states of our own minds, or some combination of those two elements. I suggest that any proposal about mnemonic content should help us understand why events are presented to us in memory as being in the past. I discuss three proposals about mnemonic content and, eventually, I put forward (...) a positive view. According to this view, when a subject seems to remember a certain event, that event is presented to her as making true a perceptual experience that caused the very memory experience that she is having. (shrink)
Tyler Burge defends the idea that memory preserves beliefswith their justifications, so that memory's role in inferenceadds no new justificatory demands. Against Burge's view,Christensen and Kornblith argue that memory is reconstructiveand so introduces an element of a posteriori justificationinto every inference. I argue that Burge is right,memory does preserve content, but to defend this viewwe need to specify a preservative mechanism. Toward thatend, I develop the idea that there is something worthcalling anaphoric thinking, which preserves content (...) inBurge's sense of ``content preservation.'' I providea model on which anaphoric thought is a fundamentalfeature of cognitive architecture, consequentlyrejecting the idea that there are mental pronounsin a Language of Thought. Since preservativememory is a matter of anaphoric thinking, thereare limits on the analogy of memory and testimony. (shrink)
One objection to enhancement technologies is that they might lead us to live inauthentic lives. Memory modification technologies (MMTs) raise this worry in a particularly acute manner. In this paper I describe four scenarios where the use of MMTs might be said to lead to an inauthentic life. I then undertake to justify that judgment. I review the main existing accounts of authenticity, and present my own version of what I call a “true self” account (intended as a complement, (...) rather than a substitute, to existing accounts). I briefly describe current and prospective MMTs, distinguishing between memory enhancement and memory editing . Moving then to an assessment of the initial scenarios in the light of the accounts previously described, I argue that memory enhancement does not, by its very nature, raise serious concerns about authenticity. The main threat to authenticity posed by MMTs comes, I suggest, from memory editing. Rejecting as inadequate the worries about identity raised by the President’s Council on Bioethics in Beyond Therapy , I argue instead that memory editing can cause us to live an inauthentic life in two main ways: first, by threatening its truthfulness, and secondly, by interfering with our disposition to respond in certain ways to some past events, when we have reasons to respond in such ways. This consideration allows us to justify the charge of inauthenticity in cases where existing accounts fail. It also gives us a significant moral reason not to use MMTs in ways that would lead to such an outcome. (shrink)
The paper presents a study examining the role of working<br>memory in quantifier verification. We created situations similar to the<br>span task to compare numerical quantifiers of low and high rank, parity<br>quantifiers and proportional quantifiers. The results enrich and support<br>the data obtained previously in and predictions drawn from a computational<br>model.
[FIRST PARAGRAPHS] Nothing is more common than for us to continue to believe without rehearsing the reasons which led us to believe in the first place. It is hard to see how it could be otherwise. Were we obliged constantly to re-trace our cognitive steps, to reassure ourselves that we are entitled to our convictions, how could we ever move forward? We have probably forgotten why we adopted many of our current beliefs and even if we could dredge the evidence (...) for them up from memory, we couldn't do this for more than a tiny subset of our beliefs at any one time. Since inquiry involves a reliance on many different beliefs, progress is possible only if we can use established results in future deliberation without re-fighting the battles of the past. But this plausible thought appears to conflict with another, that we should believe only where we have adequate evidence: rational belief must be based on evidence for the proposition believed. Now one might quibble over what exactly 'have evidence' means. Is it required that whenever the belief comes to mind, so too does the evidence on which the belief is based? Or is it sufficient that one be capable of rehearsing this evidence? Either way, human beings are very often unable to satisfy this demand in respect of beliefs on which they happily rely. If this is illicit, inquiry must be reined in, constrained by our memory's inability to retain more than a fraction of the evidence relevant to the beliefs we formed at various points in the past. Epistemologists have responded to this tension in several ways. Externalists simply drop the demand that belief be based on reasons at all. Internalists try to find evidence on which rational memory belief might be based. There are two internalist strategies here. One claims that certain forms of empirical argument are generally available to underwrite the memory beliefs of the rational person, arguments which one can rehearse even if one can't recall the specific grounds on which one formed the belief in the first place. The other strategy simply asserts that memory beliefs have a prima facie authority, that one is entitled to rely on them without any justification, provided one has no grounds for doubting them. I agree with the internalist that we must have reasons for our convictions: to believe something is to believe it to be true and if you don't have any grounds for thinking it true, you shouldn't believe it. For example, information installed in our brains as part of our genetic endowment may exercise a beneficial influence on our behaviour but such evolutionary 'memory' is not a repository of knowledge: to make it such, we must have grounds for relying on it. Nevertheless, we must also get away from the radical internalist idea that having a reason to believe is a matter of being able, at the present moment, to produce evidence. One's belief may be well-grounded in past reasoning even if one is quite incapable of recapitulating that reasoning and there is no need to invent some alternative support for the belief which one can now bring to mind. We are not creatures of the moment, unable to carry our cognitive achievements forward from one instant to the next. (shrink)
A tacit and highly idealized model of the agent's memory is presupposed in philosophy. The main features of a more psychologically realistic duplex (orn-plex) model are sketched here. It is argued that an adequate understanding of the rationality of an agent's actions is not possible without a satisfactory theory of the agent's memory and of the trade-offs involved in management of the memory, particularly involving compartmentalization of the belief set. The discussion identifies some basic constraints on the (...) organization of knowledge representations in general. (shrink)
Russell’s theory of memory as acquaintance with the past seems to square uneasily with his definition of acquaintance as the converse of the relation of presentation of an object to a subject. We show how the two views can be made to cohere under a suitable construal of ‘presentation’, which has the additional appeal of bringing Russell’s theory of memory closer to contemporary views on direct reference and object-dependent thinking than is usually acknowledged. The drawback is that (...) class='Hi'>memory as acquaintance with the past falls short of fulfilling Russell’s requirement that knowledge by acquaintance be discriminating knowledge – a shortcoming shared by contemporary externalist accounts of knowledge from memory. (shrink)
[Michael Tye] Externalism about thought contents has received enormous attention in the philosophical literature over the past fifteen years or so, and it is now the established view. There has been very little discussion, however, of whether memory contents are themselves susceptible to an externalist treatment. In this paper, I argue that anyone who is sympathetic to Twin Earth thought experiments for externalism with respect to certain thoughts should endorse externalism with respect to certain memories. /// [Jane Heal] Tye (...) claims that an externalist should say that memory content invoking natural kind concepts floats free of the setting where the memory is laid down and is at later times determined by the context in which the memory is revived. His argument assumes the existence of 'slow switching' of the meaning of natural kind terms when a person is transported from Earth to Twin Earth. But proper understanding of natural kind terms suggests that slow switching (contrary to what is often presupposed) is likely never to be completed. Hence the situation of a person unknowingly transported to Twin Earth is not that his memories switch content but rather that he gets two natural kinds confused. (shrink)
Memory brings the past into the present. It is a feature of human temporality, contingency, and identity. Attention to memory's psychological and social importance suggests new vistas for work in religious ethics. This essay examines four recent works on memory's importance for self-interpretation, social criticism, and public justice. My focus will be on normative questions about memory. The works under review ask whether, and on what terms, we have an obligation to remember, whether memory is (...) linked to neighbors near and distant, how memory is related to justice and forgiveness, and whether memory sits easily with the kind of relationships that allegedly characterize life in democratic public culture. (shrink)