The Temporal Orientation of Memory: It's Time for a Change of Direction


Authors
Stanely Bernard Klein
University of California at Santa Barbara
Abstract
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.
Keywords memory  subjective temporality  Future-orientation  evolution
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Remembering with and Without Memory: A Theory of Memory and Aspects of Mind That Enable its Experience.Stan Klein - 2018 - Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Practice and Research 5:117-130.
What Memory Is.Stan Klein - 2015 - WIREs Cognitive Science 6 (1):1-38.

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