Remembering takes many distinctive forms. Philosophers have
primarily discussed the form of memory in which I remember episodes and
experiences in my own past. Such ‘personal’ (or ‘experiential’ or ‘episodic’)
memories seem to represent the past events to which they refer, and to depend
on certain kinds of causal connections between past and present. In ‘factual’
or ‘semantic’ memory, in contrast, I need not have personally experienced what
I now remember. ‘Declarative’ memory of both these forms aims at truth, but can
go wrong in minor or dramatic ways. We also remember both to do certain things
(‘prospective’ memory), and how to do certain things (‘procedural’ memory).
Philosophers discuss the nature, functions, and mechanisms of memory; its
relations to perception, imagination, dreams, emotions, and knowledge; and its
connections with personal identity, responsibility, and our moral and social
lives. Memory is an active topic of interdisciplinary research between
philosophy, cognitive science, and the social sciences.