Semanticization Challenges the Episodic–Semantic Distinction

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Episodic and semantic memory are often taken to be fundamentally different mental systems, and contemporary philosophers often pursue research questions about episodic memory, in particular, in isolation from semantic memory. This paper challenges that assumption, and puts pressure on philosophical approaches to memory that break off episodic memory as its own standalone topic. I present and systematize psychological and neuroscientific theories of semanticization, the thesis that memory content tends to drift from episodic to semantic in structure over time and exposure to an environment. Semanticization, I argue, is a long-term interconnection between episodic and semantic systems that requires approaching both the content and function of these two memory systems as a whole. Thus we have a reason to reject projects by Michael Martin, which aims to carve out a uniquely episodic memory content, and Kourken Michaelian, which pairs episodic memory to its own unique function. Instead, seeing declarative memory as a single system with two facets or even a continuum of features allows for deeper insight into both content and function.

Similar books and articles

Remembering-That: Episodic Vs. Semantic.Andrew Naylor - 2011 - Philosophical Psychology 24 (3):317 - 322.
The Mnemonic Functions of Episodic Memory.Alexandria Boyle - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (3):327-349.
Episodic Memory and Autonoetic Consciousness: A First-Person Approach.John M. Gardiner - 2002 - In Alan Baddeley, John Aggleton & Martin Conway (eds.), Episodic Memory: New Directions in Research. Oxford University Press. pp. 11-30.
How to Distinguish Memory Representations? A Historical and Critical Journey.Marina Trakas - 2019 - Voluntas: Revista Internacional de Filosofia 10 (3):53-86.
Memory and Consciousness.Paula Droege - 2013 - Philosophia Scientiae 17 (2):171-193.
Memory and Consciousness.Paula Droege - 2013 - Philosophia Scientae 17:171-193.
What is It to Remember?Johannes B. Mahr & Gergely Csibra - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
Episodic Memory: Insights From Semantic Dementia.John R. Hodges & Kim S. Graham - 2002 - In Alan Baddeley, John Aggleton & Martin Conway (eds.), Episodic Memory: New Directions in Research. Oxford University Press.
Is Memory Preservation?Mohan Matthen - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (1):3-14.


Added to PP

261 (#44,715)

6 months
233 (#1,781)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Sara Aronowitz
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

What Memory Is.Stan Klein - 2015 - WIREs Cognitive Science 6 (1):1-38.
Remembering.F. C. Bartlett - 1935 - Scientia 29 (57):221.
Misremembering.Sarah K. Robins - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (3):432-447.

View all 9 references / Add more references