A long-standing debate surrounds the question as to what justifies memory judgements. According to the Past Reason Theory, these judgements are justified by the reasons we had to make identical judgements in the past, whereas the Present Reason Theory claims that these justifying reasons are to be found at the time we pass the memory judgements. In this paper, I defend the original claim that, far from being exclusive, these two theories should be applied to different kinds of (...)memory judgements. The Past Reason Theory offers the most appealing account of justified propositionalmemory judgements, while the Present Reason Theory provides the best approach to justified episodic memory judgements. One outcome of my discussion is thus that memory is not epistemologically unified and my argument in favour of this conclusion connects with the issues of internalism, reliabilism and the basing relation. (shrink)
We examine the role of working memory's central executive in the mental model explanation of propositional reasoning by using two working memory measures: the classical “reading span” test by Daneman and Carpenter (1980) and a new measure. This new “reasoning span” measure requires individuals to solve very simple anaphora problems, and store and remember the word solution in a growing series of inferential problems. We present one experiment in which we check the involvement of the central executive (...) in conditional and disjunctive inference tasks and compare predictions of the new reasoning span test with those of the classical reading span test. The results of the experiment confirm that reasoning responses, which according to mental model theory require high cognitive work, are predicted by working memory measures. Results also show that some reasoning responses are probably obtained by means of superficial biases or strategies that do not load working memory. The reasoning span test, which involves the central executive to a greater degree, predicts reasoning performance better than the reading span test. The significance and possibilities of the new measure in studying reasoning are discussed. (shrink)
Four experiments assessed the relative involvement of different working memory components in two types of reasoning tasks: propositional and spatial reasoning. Using the secondary-task methodology, visual, central-executive, and phonological loads were realised. Although the involvement of visuospatial resources in propositional reasoning has traditionally been considered to be small, an overall analysis of the present data suggests an alternative account. A theoretical analysis of the pattern of results in terms of Evans' (1984, 1989) twostage theory of reasoning is (...) proposed and tested in Experiments 3 and 4, in which direct evidence for the alternative account was obtained: significant disruption of propositional reasoning by a concurrent spatial load. (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)
We conducted a computer-based psychological experiment in which a random mix of 40 tautologies and 40 non-tautologies were presented to the participants, who were asked to determine which ones of the formulas were tautologies. The participants were eight university students in computer science who had received tuition in propositional logic. The formulas appeared one by one, a time-limit of 45 s applied to each formula and no aids were allowed. For each formula we recorded the proportion of the participants (...) who classified the formula correctly before timeout (accuracy) and the mean response time among those participants (latency). We propose a new proof formalism for modeling propositional reasoning with bounded cognitive resources. It models declarative memory, visual memory, working memory, and procedural memory according to the memory model of Atkinson and Shiffrin and reasoning processes according to the model of Newell and Simon. We also define two particular proof systems, T and NT , for showing propositional formulas to be tautologies and non-tautologies, respectively. The accuracy was found to be higher for non-tautologies than for tautologies ( p T was .89 and for non-tautologies the correlation between latency and minimum proof length in NT was .87. (shrink)
Externalism1 is the thesis that some propositional attitudes depend for their individuation on features of the thinker’s (social and/or physical) environment. The doctrine of self-knowledge of thoughts is the thesis that for all thinkers S and occurrent thoughts that p, S has authoritative and non-empirical knowledge of her thought that p. A much-discussed question in the literature is whether these two doctrines are compatible. In this paper I attempt to respond to one argument for an incompatibilist conclusion, Boghossian’s 1989 (...) ‘Memory Argument.’. (shrink)
A neurobiological model of language is discussed that overcomes the shortcomings of the classical Wernicke-Lichtheim-Geschwind model. It is based on a subdivision of language processing into three components: Memory, Unification, and Control. The functional components as well as the neurobiological underpinnings of the model are discussed. In addition, the need for extension of the model beyond the classical core regions for language is shown. Attentional networks as well as networks for inferential processing are crucial to realize language comprehension beyond (...) single word processing and beyond decoding propositional content. It is shown that this requires the dynamic interaction between multiple brain regions. (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)
[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)
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)
Abstract In the first section of the paper I present Alan Turing?s notion of effective memory, as it appears in his 1936 paper ?On Computable Numbers, With an Application to The Entscheidungsproblem?. This notion stands in surprising contrast with the way memory is usually thought of in the context of contemporary computer science. Turing?s view (in 1936) is that for a computing machine to remember a previously scanned string of symbols is not to store an internal symbolic image (...) of this string. Rather, memory consists in the fact that the past scanning of the string affects the behavior of the computer in the face of potential future inputs. In the second, central section of the paper I begin exploring how this view of Turing?s bears upon contemporary discussions in the philosophy of mind. In particular, I argue that Turing?s approach can be used to lend support to dispositional conceptions of the propositional attitudes, like the one recently presented by Matthews (2007), and that his effective memory manifests some of the characteristics of Millikan?s (1996) pushmepullyou mental states. (shrink)
The propositional account of explicit and implicit knowledge interprets cognitive differences between direct and indirect test performance as emerging from the elements in different hierarchical levels of the propositional representation that have been made explicit. The hierarchical nature of explicitness is challenged, however, on the basis of neuropsychological dissociations between direct and indirect tests of memory, as well as the stochastic independence that has been observed between these two types of tests. Furthermore, format specificity on indirect test (...) of memory challenges the basic notion of a propositional theory of implicit and explicit knowledge. (shrink)
Conducted 2 experiments with undergraduates which demonstrated that, in a recognition memory task, Ss recognized the negated antecedent and consequent propositions of previously encountered counterfactual conditionals significantly more often than control items, the latter effect being distinctly stronger (Exp I, n = 110). A similar result was obtained for causals related to previously encountered counterfactual conditionals and counterfactual conditionals related to previously encountered causals, the latter being the stronger effect (Exp II, n = 92). Results are discussed in the (...) context of the observation that a counterfactual conditional (a) presupposes the negation of its antecedent proposition, (b) strongly suggests the negation of its consequent proposition, and (c) is intimately related to a causal in which (a) and (b) are conjoined, with (a) taken as the grounds for (b). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved) (unassigned). (shrink)
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.
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)
The senses present their content in the form of images, three-dimensional arrays of located sense features. Peacocke’s “scenario content” is one attempt to capture image content; here, a richer notion is presented, sensory images include located objects and features predicated of them. It is argued that our grasp of the meaning of these images implies that they have propositional content. Two problems concerning image content are explored. The first is that even on an enriched conception, image content has certain (...) expressive limitations. In particular, it cannot express absolute location and time (as opposed to spatiotemporal relations) or logical complexity. Yet, perceptual experience does seem to express certain absolute locations—namely, here and now. How can it do so? Secondly, image content cannot exhaust the significance of perceptual states. This is proved by noting that perception, memory, and anticipation can have the same image content. Yet they have different significance. These problems show that some of the significance of sensory states comes from outside the image. (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)
In this paper, I explore the question of whether the expected consequences of holding a belief can affect the rationality of doing so. Special attention is given to various ways in which one might attempt to exert some measure of control over what one believes and the normative status of the beliefs that result from the successful execution of such projects. I argue that the lessons which emerge from thinking about the case ofbelief have important implications for the way we (...) should think about the rationality of a number of other propositional attitudes,such as regret, desire, and fear. Finally,I suggest that a lack of clarity with respect to the relevant issues has given rise to a number of rather serious philosophical mistakes. (shrink)
Reprinted in Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, Wadsworth 2013, 6th edition, with an additional section entitled, "Reasons for the Common View," eds Michael Rea and Louis Pojman. What is propositional faith? At a first approximation, we might answer that it is the psychological attitude picked out by standard uses of the English locution “S has faith that p,” where p takes declarative sentences as instances, as in “He has faith that they’ll win”. Although correct, this answer is not nearly (...) as informative as we might like. Many people say that there is a more informative answer. They say that, at the very least, propositional faith requires propositional belief. More precisely, they say that faith that p requires belief that p or that it must be partly constituted by belief that p. This view is common enough; call it the Common View. I have two main aims in this paper: (i) to exhibit the falsity of the Common View and the paucity of reasons for it, and (ii) to sketch a more accurate and comprehensive account of what propositional faith is. (shrink)
The propositional attitudes are attitudes such as believing and desiring, taken toward propositions such as the proposition that snow flurries are expected, or that the Prime Minister likes poutine. Collectively, our views about the propositional attitudes make up much of folk psychology, our everyday theory of how the mind works.
This book makes a stimulating contribution to the philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. It begins with a spirited defense of the view that propositions are structured and that propositional structure is "psychologically real." The author then develops a subtle view of propositions and attitude ascription. The view is worked out in detail with attention to such topics as the semantics of conversations, iterated attitude ascriptions, and the role of propositions as bearers of truth. Along the way important (...) issues in the philosophy of mind are addressed. (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)
Propositionalism is the view that intentional attitudes, such as belief, are relations to propositions. Propositionalists argue that propositionalism follows from the intuitive validity of certain kinds of inferences involving attitude reports. Jubien (2001) argues powerfully against propositions and sketches some interesting positive proposals, based on Russell’s multiple relation theory of judgment, about how to accommodate “propositional phenomena” without appeal to propositions. This paper argues that none of Jubien’s proposals succeeds in accommodating an important range of propositional phenomena, such (...) as the aforementioned validity of attitude-report inferences. It then shows that the notion of a predication act-type, which remains importantly Russellian in spirit, is sufficient to explain the range of propositional phenomena in question, in particular the validity of attitude-report inferences. The paper concludes with a discussion of whether predication act-types are really just propositions by another name. (shrink)
Most contemporary philosophical discussions of intentionality start and end with a treatment of the propositional attitudes. In fact, many theorists hold (tacitly if not explicitly) that all attitudes are propositional attitudes. Our folk-psychological ascriptions suggest, however, that there are non-propositional attitudes: I like Sally, my brother fears snakes, everyone loves my grandmother, and Rush Limbaugh hates Obama. I argue that things are as they appear: there are non-propositional attitudes. More specifically, I argue that there are attitudes (...) that relate individuals to non-propositional objects and do so not in virtue of relating them to propositions. I reach this conclusion by not only showing that attempted analyses of apparently non-propositional attitudes in terms of the propositional fail, but that some non-propositional attitudes don’t even supervene on propositional attitudes. If this is correct, then the common discussions of intentionality that address only propositional attitudes are incomplete and those who hold that all intentional states are propositional are mistaken. (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)
Natural deduction systems were motivated by the desire to define the meaning of each connective by specifying how it is introduced and eliminated from inference. In one sense, this attempt fails, for it is well known that propositional logic rules (however formulated) underdetermine the classical truth tables. Natural deduction rules are too weak to enforce the intended readings of the connectives; they allow non-standard models. Two reactions to this phenomenon appear in the literature. One is to try to restore (...) the standard readings, for example by adopting sequent rules with multiple conclusions. Another is to explore what readings the natural deduction rules do enforce. When the notion of a model of a rule is generalized, it is found that natural deduction rules express “intuitionistic” readings of their connectives. A third approach is presented here. The intuitionistic readings emerge when models of rules are defined globally, but the notion of a local model of a rule is also natural. Using this benchmark, natural deduction rules enforce exactly the classical readings of the connectives, while this is not true of axiomatic systems. This vindicates the historical motivation for natural deduction rules. One odd consequence of using the local model benchmark is that some systems of propositional logic are not complete for the semantics that their rules express. Parallels are drawn with incompleteness results in modal logic to help make sense of this. (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)
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.
A prospective introduction -- The received view -- Troubles with the received view -- Are propositional attitudes relations? -- Foundations of a measurement-theoretic account of the attitudes -- The basic measurement-theoretic account -- Elaboration and explication of the proposed measurement-theoretic account.
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)
Eliminative materialism is a popular view of the mind which holds that propositional attitudes, the typical units of our traditional understanding, are unsupported by modern connectionist psychology and neuroscience, and consequently that propositional attitudes are a poor scientific postulate, and do not exist. Since our traditional folk psychology employs propositional attitudes, the usual argument runs, it too represents a poor theory, and may in the future be replaced by a more successful neurologically grounded theory, resulting in a (...) drastic improvement in our interpersonal relationships. I contend that these eliminativist arguments typically run together two distinct capacities: the folk psychological mechanisms which we use to understand one another, and scientific and philosophical guesses about the structure of those understandings. Both capacities are ontologically committed and therefore empirical. However, the commitments whose prospects look so dismal to the eliminativist, in particular the causal and logical image of propositional attitudes, belong to the guesses, and not necessarily to the underlying mechanisms. It is the commitments of traditional philosophical perspectives about the operation of our folk psychology which are contradicted by?new evidence and modeling methods in connectionist psychology. Our actual folk psychology was not clearly committed to causal, sentential propositional attitudes, and thus is not directly threatened by connectionist psychology. (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)