Memory as acquaintance with the past: some Lessons from Russell, 1912-1914

Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 51 (121):149-172 (2010)
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 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.
Keywords Bertrand Russell  Acquaintance  Memory  Russell's Principle  Externalism
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DOI 10.1590/S0100-512X2010000100008
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