Observer Memories and the Perspectival Mind. On Remembering from the Outside by Christopher McCarroll [Book Review]

Análisis Filosófico 40 (1):123-138 (2020)
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Abstract

Observer memories, memories where one sees oneself in the remembered scene, from-the-outside, are commonly considered less accurate and genuine than visual field memories, memories in which the scene remembered is seen as one originally experienced it. In Remembering from the Outside (OUP, 2019), Christopher McCarroll debunks this commonsense conception by offering a detailed analysis of the nature of observer memories. On the one hand, he explains how observer and field perspectives are not really mutually exclusive in an experience, including memory experiences. On the other hand, he argues that in observer memories there is no additional explicit representation of oneself experiencing the event: the self-presence is transparent and given by the mode of presentation. Whereas these are two lines of strategic and original argumentation, they are not exempt of problems. In this critical notice, I focus on the problematic aspects of McCarroll’s account. I show that it presents some issues that affect the internal coherence of the overall framework, and that some aspects and central notions would have needed more development to offer a precise picture of the nature of observer memories.

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