In this paper I discuss philosophical and psychological treatments of the question "how do we decide that an occurrent mental state is a memory and not, say a thought or imagination?" This issue has proven notoriously difficult to resolve, with most proposed indices, criteria and heuristics failing to achieve consensus. Part of the difficulty, I argue, is that the indices and analytic solutions thus far offered seldom have been situated within a well-specified theory of memory function. As I hope to show,
when such an approach is adopted, not only does a new, functionally-grounded answer emerge; we also gain insight into the adaptive significance of the process proposed to underwrite our belief in the memorial status of a mental state (i.e.,autonoetic awareness).