Recent work on the early development of episodic memory in my laboratory has been fuelled by the following assumption: if episodic memory is re-experientialmemory then Kant’s analysis of the spatiotemporal nature of experience should constrain and positively influence theories of episodic memory development. The idea is that re-experientialmemory will “inherit” these spatiotemporal features. On the basis of this assumption, Russell and Hanna (Mind and Language 27(1):29–54, 2012) proposed that (a) the spatial (...) element of re-experience is egocentric and (b) that the temporal element of re-experiencing involves order/simultaneity. The first of these assumptions is immediately problematic for two reasons. In the first place, if we assume that early episodic recall mediated by processing in the hippocampus, then (a) is clearly in tension with the fact that spatial coding in the hippocampus is allocentric/environment-centred. Second, two of our own recent experiments (described here) show that when only egocentric cues are available in a What/When/Where episodic memory task it is not possible to distinguish young children’s performance from semantic memory. I argue that this tension should be resolved by recognising that the egocentric coding of the original experience as being of an objective scene relies upon allocentric representations and these are preserved in re-experientialmemory, allowing a recollection of the objective nature of the scene on which one takes a subjective view. (shrink)
What kind of mental state is episodic memory? I defend the claim that it is, in key part, imagining the past, where the imagining in question is experiential imagining. To remember a past episode is to experientially imagine how things were, in a way controlled by one’s past experience of that episode. Call this the Inclusion View. I motive this view by appeal both to patterns of compatibilities and incompatibilities between various states, and to phenomenology. The bulk of (...) the paper defends the account against four objections. Imagining and remembering seem to differ in whether they are active or passive, in the forms of singular content they involve, in their relations to observation and in their relations to belief. I argue that these differences can be accommodated, and some even explained, once we flesh out what else is involved in episodic memory, in addition to imagining the past. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for the importance of treating mental experience on its own terms. In defense of “experiential realism” I offer a critique of modern psychology’s all-too-frequent attempts to effect an objectification and quantification of personal subjectivity. The question is “What can we learn about experiential reality from indices that, in the service of scientific objectification, transform the qualitative properties of experience into quantitative indices?” I conclude that such treatment is neither necessary for realizing, nor sufficient (...) for capturing, subjectively given states (such as perception, pain, imagery, fear, thought, memory) – that is, for understanding many of the principle objects of psychological inquiry. A “science of mind” that approaches its subject matter from a third-person perspective should, I contend, be treated with a healthy amount of informed skepticism. (shrink)
Whether or not conscious recollection in autobiographical memory is affected in schizophrenia is unknown. The aim of this study was to address this issue using an experiential approach. An autobiographical memory enquiry was used in combination with the Remember/Know procedure. Twenty-two patients with schizophrenia and 22 normal subjects were asked to recall specific autobiographical memories from four lifetime periods and to indicate the subjective states of awareness associated with the recall of what happened, when and where. They (...) gave Remember, Know or Guess responses according to whether they recalled these aspects of the event on the basis of conscious recollection, simply knowing, or guessing. Results showed that the frequency and consistency of Remember responses was significantly lower in patients than in comparison subjects. In contrast, the frequency of Know responses was not significantly different, whereas the frequency of patients’ Guess responses was significantly enhanced. It is concluded that the frequency and consistency of conscious recollection in autobiographical memory is reduced in patients with schizophrenia. (shrink)
Episodic memory is sometimes described as mental time travel. This suggests three ideas: that episodic memory offers us access to the past that is quasi-experiential, that it is a source of knowledge of the past, and that it is, at root, passive. I offer an account of episodic memory that rejects all three ideas. The account claims that remembering is a matter of representing the past to oneself, in a way suitably responsive to how one experienced (...) the remembered episode to be. I argue that episodic memory is active, in the way this view suggests. I clarify the idea that it is, as the view also implies, not a source of knowledge but an expression of knowledge the subject already has. And I suggest the view need not limit memories to states that are in any way experience-like. This position offers a way to articulate the relations between episodic memory and related phenomena: factual memory, generic memory, remembering-how and anticipation. And it allows us to explain how we know which aspects of our episodic memory states to take seriously and which (such as the shift to an observer perspective on the remembered events) to treat as merely incidental. (shrink)
The paper aims to provide an account of the phenomenological differences between perception, recognition and recall. In the first section, recall is distinguished from non-experiential forms of memory. In the second section, it is argued that we can't distinguish perceptual experience from the experience of recall by means of perception's present tense content because it is possible to perceive as well as to recall the past. The Lockean theory of recall as a revival of previous perceptual experience is (...) then introduced, applied and defended against objections. Next, recall is distinguish from memory recognition. Finally, some relevant psychological data is described. (shrink)
This paper develops the thesis that personal identity is neither to be taken in terms of an unchanging self-sufficient ‘substance’ nor in terms of selfhood ‘without substance,’ i.e. as fluctuating processes of pure relationality and subject-less activity. Instead, identity is taken as self-transformation that is bound to particular embodied individuals and surpasses them as individuated entities. The paper is structured in three parts. Part I describes the experiential givenness of conflicts that support our sense of self-transformation. While the first (...) part develops an inter-subjective topography of emotional movements, the second part pays attention to their temporal dimension. We work with conflicts and get transformed by them also in the way we remember them. Part II focuses on the process of self-understanding that accompanies conflicts and their metamorphosis in memory. Part III compares and discusses different models of a ‘relational ontology’ of the person, which question the idea that we are defined only by how we define ourselves—just as they question the idea that one’s identity is independent of how one relates to one’s having changed. (shrink)
I critically discuss both the particular doctrinal and general meta-philosophical or methodological tenets of Mark Johnston's paper "Human Beings", attending to several weaknesses in his argument. One of the most important amongst them is an apparent reliance on a substitution of identicals within an intensional context as he argues that continuity of functioning brain is essential to the persistence of "Human Beings" as allegedly singled out by his methodology; another equally important is a simple lacuna in place of an argument (...) that candidate entities for re-identification by means we take for granted in the case of persons cannot be what I call "mentalistically" individuated. (shrink)
The Remember–Know paradigm is commonly used to examine experiential states during recognition. In this paradigm, whether a Know response is defined as a high-confidence state of certainty or a low-confidence state based on familiarity varies across researchers, and differences in definitions and instructions have been shown to influence participants’ responding. Using a novel approach, in three internet-based questionnaires participants were placed in the role of ‘memory expert’ and classified others’ justifications of recognition decisions. Results demonstrated that participants reliably (...) differentiated between others’ memory experiences – both in terms of confidence and other inherent differences in the justifications. Furthermore, under certain conditions, manipulations of confidence were found to shift how items were assigned to subjective experience categories . Findings are discussed in relation to the relationship between subjective experience and confidence, and the separation of Know and Familiar response categories within the Remember–Know paradigm. (shrink)
Sometimes we remember past objects or events in a vivid, experiential way. The present paper addresses some fundamental questions about the metaphysics of such experiential or 'recollective' memories. More specifically, it develops the 'Relational Account' of recollective memory, which consists of the following three claims. (1) A subject who recollectively remembers (or 'R-remembers') a past object or event stands in an experiential relation (namely, a 'recollective relation') to the relevant past object or event. (2) The R-remembered (...) object or event itself is a part of the R-memory; that is, the subject's present R-memory is partly constituted by the relevant past object or event. (3) When a subject R-remembers a past object, the past object is a constitutive part of the conscious experience itself ; that is, the object is immediately available to the subject in conscious experience. In developing the Relational Account, the present paper hopes to make a substantial contribution to any attempt to account for the nature of recollective memory. Furthermore, in order to explain how a subject could understand the beliefs that she forms about the past on the basis of an R-memory, and how a subject could, on the basis of an R-memory, gain any knowledge about the past, we arguably also need to rely on the Relational Account of recollective memory. Thus, the Relational Account will also play an important role in an attempt to account for various other ways in which a subject might be related to the past in general, and to her own past in particular. Standing in such relations to the past is, in turn, a central feature of our human existence. Ultimately, therefore, the Relational Account of recollective memory should also play a crucial role in furthering our understanding of ourselves, and of our own existence in time. (shrink)
Using a multiple-trial stock market decision paradigm, the possibility that counterfactual thinking can be dysfunctional for learning and performance by distorting the processing of outcome information was examined. Correlational (Study 1) and experimental (Study 2) evidence suggested that counterfactuals are associated with a decrease in experiential learning. When counterfactuals were made salient, participants displayed significantly poorer performance compared to their counterparts for whom counterfactuals were relatively less salient. A counterfactual salience ? need for cognition (NFC) interaction qualified these findings. (...) High NFC participants outperformed their counterparts when counterfactuals were not salient. Evidence for a memory-based mechanism was also supported. (shrink)
The functional theory of memory set out in Glenberg's target article accords with recent proposals in the developmental literature with respect to event memory, conceptualization, and language acquisition from an embodied, experiential view. The theory, however, needs to be supplemented with a recognition of the sociocultural contribution to these cognitive processes and emerging structures.
Religionists often presuppose that “mysticism” aims at somehow emptying the mind. In the light of evidence, however, meditation seems rather to consist of ritualized action without an explicit emphasis on subjective experience. Boyer & Lienard's (B&L's) theory of ritualized action as “swamping” working memory thus might help explain the effects of meditation without postulating experiential goals the “mystics” obviously do not have. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Sometimes we remember past objects or events in a vivid, experiential way. The present paper addresses some fundamental questions about the metaphysics of such experiential or ‘recollective’ memories. More specifically, it develops the ‘Relational Account’ of recollective memory, which consists of the following three claims. A subject who recollectively remembers a past object or event stands in an experiential relation to the relevant past object or event. The R‐remembered object or event itself is a part of (...) the R‐memory; that is, the subject's present R‐memory is partly constituted by the relevant past object or event. When a subject R‐remembers a past object, the past object is a constitutive part of the conscious experience itself; that is, the object is immediately available to the subject in conscious experience. In developing the Relational Account, the present paper hopes to make a substantial contribution to any attempt to account for the nature of recollective memory. Furthermore, in order to explain how a subject could understand the beliefs that she forms about the past on the basis of an R‐memory, and how a subject could, on the basis of an R‐memory, gain any knowledge about the past, we arguably also need to rely on the Relational Account of recollective memory. Thus, the Relational Account will also play an important role in an attempt to account for various other ways in which a subject might be related to the past in general, and to her own past in particular. Standing in such relations to the past is, in turn, a central feature of our human existence. Ultimately, therefore, the Relational Account of recollective memory should also play a crucial role in furthering our understanding of ourselves, and of our own existence in time. (shrink)
Discussion continues here of a theory I have previously described as being an equivocal remembrance theory of inner awareness, the direct appre-hension of one’s own mental-occurrence instances . O’Shaughnessy claims that we acquire knowledge of each of our experiences as it occurs, yet any occurrent cognitive awareness of it that we may have comes later and is mediated by memory. Thus, acquiring knowledge of an experience firsthand is automatic and silent, not a matter of experientially apprehending the experience. Although (...) O’Shaughnessy does hold that every experience has itself as an object, this is not a matter of a cognitive self-apprehension . O’Shaughnessy’s grounds for his proposal of a nonexperiential acquisition of knowledge of one’s experiences amounts to the claim that to hold otherwise would imply an infinite regress of experiences, for the experience by which we would know of an experience would be itself the object of experience, etc. I argue that neither an appendage theory nor an intrinsic theory of inner awareness, both of which are experiential, sets an experiential regress going. Then, I argue that something experiential would seem to be essential to acquiring firsthand knowledge of one’s experiences according to O’Shaughnessy’s own account of environmental perception. At its core is the thesis that the basic perceptual experience, the primary component of a perception, is a nonconceptual and noncognitive noticing of present sensations produced by environmental items. This first component evokes a second, cognitive component of the experience that is a recognitional awareness of the first component. Only in this way could perception perform its cognitive function, according to the theory, which is to yield knowledge of sensations and their causes in the environment. But the recognitional awareness, the “interpretative” component, clearly is experiential and an inner awareness. Moreover, O’Shaughnessy does not appear to view this component as resulting in an infinite number of inner awarenesses because implicitly he considers it, perhaps, to be intrinsic to the perceptual experience. (shrink)
Preface/Introduction: The question under discussion is metaphysical and truly elemental. It emerges in two aspects — how did we come to be conscious of our own existence, and, as a deeper corollary, do existence and awareness necessitate each other? I am bold enough to explore these questions and I invite you to come along; I make no claim to have discovered absolute answers. However, I do believe I have created here a compelling interpretation. You’ll have to judge for yourself. -/- (...) What follows is the presentation of three essays I have worked on over the past several years seeing publication for the first time. “Hollows of Experience” was written first as an invited chapter for a collection on the ontology of consciousness. However, when cuts became necessary, my chapter got the knife. Its length has prohibited it from publication in any print journal. “Myth and Mind” was written next as a journal article, but as my involvement with it grew so did its length, so it has also idled on my websty awaiting its call. “From Panexperientialism to Conscious Experience” was written most recently, but it is the only one to have been available to the public elsewhere than my own website. Under the name, “The Continuum of Experience”, it was Target Article #95 on the recently closed Karl Jaspers Forum (for discussion purposes only). -/- I have put them in a different sequence here, for reasons of logical sense. Up first, “Panexperientialism” deals with an idea difficult for many to accept, namely that conscious experience is a particular mode of symbolically reflected experience that is largely unique to our species. However, I aver that experienced sensation in itself (as found, for example, in autonomic sensory response systems) goes “all the way down” into nature, and thus the title, panexperientialism. -/- Understanding this idea is helpful to dealing with the focus on language in Part I of “Hollows”, next, since here speech and general symbolic interaction in general are found to be the catalysts for the creation of our consciously experienced world (our “lived reality”). In Part II, however, I explore how experienced sensations must be coeval with existence, and, with even greater temerity, how all this sensational existence might have arisen within some literally inconceivable background of awareness-in-itself that yet has a dynamism that occasionally breaks into existence as experiential events and entities. (The latter may sound wacky, but physicists and cosmologists are themselves attempting to come to terms with that which seethes with vast potential energy in what they refer to as the quantum vacuum.) -/- “Myth and Mind” was put third since it deals with a major lacuna in “Hollows” — that presumed prehistoric period when members of our species made the painful crossing of the symbolic threshold into the beginnings of cultural consciousness. Speech plays a central role here, too, but I look more at narrative structures from the dawn of self-awareness when ritual and myth became vital to human survival. Why would fantastic stories and bizarre rituals be necessary? I speculate that growing foresight led to the unavoidable realization of certain mortality, from which, in turn, emerged the secondary realization that we were now alive. In contrast to our yet-to-come death, we have life here and now, and by ritually identifying with a symbolically expanded mythic, i.e., sacred, reality, we may continue to live on after bodily death, just as our ancestors and loved ones must also do. Language and mythmaking are necessary to avoid mortal despair and they remain at the core of human consciousness. -/- As Ernst Cassirer (1944) has noted, language and myth are “twin creatures”, both metaphoric webs over a reality we can never wholly comprehend. We live in the symbolic and construct our works of imagination and wars of conquest to make life meaningful, to feel immortal, and to sense that we ourselves participate in a reality greater than ourselves. No doubt we do, but this does not mean our culturally constructed self-identities survive the death of our bodies, and it does not imply that our symbolic concepts can ever indicate the ultimate truth. We simply must symbolize an extended reality that was sacred to our ancestors: “Is it not our way, as illusory as it may be, to force continuance on our world and our life in the face of their inevitable ending? Are we not compelled to extend those imaginary horizons as far as we can despite the terror and the sometime joy their extension incites? Is their closure not a form of death?” (Crapanzano, p. 210) -/- Of course, this leaves me in the uncomfortable position of being forced to admit that this venture of mine must inevitably be another attempt at meaningful mythmaking. But what else could it be? This is certainly not a scientific proof though it is indeed an academically rigorous exploration. (Just try to count the citations!) I hope the reader will judge my thesis on the basis of its coherence, the sense of meaning it evokes, my intellectual responsibility, and, finally, the engagement it inspires. If you have read my expositions and found yourself immersed in the timeless questions I here call forth, I would call these writings successful (even if you violently disagree with my answers). -/- I am very grateful to Huping Hu for granting me this special issue of JCER in which to present my ideas in some detail. He has patiently dealt with my exuberant approach and allowed the many changes I kept coming up with right until the final publication date. I also wish to thank the many potential commentators who politely replied to my invitation, and, even more, I thank those who made time to write actual commentaries. -/- References -/- Cassirer, E. (1944). An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture. New Haven/London: Yale UP. -/- Crapanzano, V. (2004). Imaginative Horizons: An Essay in Literary-Philosophical Anthropology. Chicago: U of Chicago Press. -/- Gregory M. Nixon University of Northern British Columbia Prince George, British Columbia, Canada Email: email@example.com Websty: http://members.shaw.ca/doknyx. (shrink)
McDowell (1994) proposed a philosophical theory about perceptual content -call it "conceptualism"- that states that in every case the content of a visual experience necessarily involves concepts that fully specify every single feature consciously and simultaneously available during the experience. I..
In this chapter we examine the tendency to view future-oriented mental time travel as a unitary faculty that, despite task-driven surface variation, ultimately reduces to a common phenomenological state. We review evidence that FMTT is neither unitary nor beholden to episodic memory: Rather, it is varied both in its memorial underpinnings and experiential realization. We conclude that the phenomenological diversity characterizing FMTT is dependent not on the type of memory activated during task performance, but on the kind (...) of subjective temporality associated with the memory in play. (shrink)
This article deals with women-centred prose texts of the 1990s and 2000s in Russia written by women, and focuses especially on generation narratives. By this term the author means fictional texts that explore generational relations within families, from the perspective of repressed experiences, feelings and attitudes in the Soviet period. The selected texts are interpreted as narrating and conceptualizing the consequences of patriarchal ideology for relations between mothers and daughters and for reconstructing connections between Soviet and post-Soviet by revisiting and (...) remembering especially the gaps and discontinuities between (female) generations. The cases discussed are Liudmila Petrushevskaia’s ‘povest’ Vremia noch [The Time: Night] (1991), Liudmila Ulitskaia’s novel Medeia i ee deti [Medea and her Children] (1996) and Elena Chizhova’s novel Vremia zhenshchin [The Time of Women] (2009). These novels reflect on the one hand the woman-centredness and novelty of representation in women’s prose writing in the post-Soviet period. On the other hand, the author suggests that they reflect the diverse methods of representing the Soviet era and experience through generation narratives. The texts reassess the past through intimate, tactile memories and perceptions, and their narration through generational plots draws attention to the process of working through, which needs to be done in contemporary Russia. The narratives touch upon the untold stories of those who suffered in silence or hid the family secrets from the officials, in order to save the family. The narration delves into the different layers of experience and memory, conceptualizing them in the form of multiple narrative perspectives constructing different generations and traditions. In this way they convey the ‘secrets’ hidden in the midst of everyday life routines and give voice to the often silent resistance of women towards patriarchal and repressive ideology. The new women’s prose of the 1980s–90s and the subsequent trend of women-centred narratives and generation narratives employ conceptual metaphors of reassessing, revisiting and remembering the cultural, experiential, and emotional aspects of the past, Soviet lives. (shrink)
The debate on personal persistence has been characterized by a dichotomy which is due to its still Cartesian framwork: On the one side we find proponents of psychological continuity who connect, in Locke’s tradition, the persistence of the person with the constancy of the first-person perspective in retrospection. On the other side, proponents of a biological approach take diachronic identity to consist in the continuity of the organism as the carrier of personal existence from a third-person-perspective. Thus, what accounts for (...) someone’s persistence over time, is the continuity of his mind on the one hand, and the continuity of his body on the other. In contrast to those views, the paper intends to show that bodily existence represents the basis of selfhood across time, both as the continuity of the experiential self and as the continuity of the autopoietic organism. On the one hand, the lived body conveys a continuity of the self from a first-person perspective, namely a pre-reflective feeling of sameness or a felt constancy of subjectivity. Moreover, an analysis of awakening and sleep shows that there is a continuous transition from full wakefulness to periods of deep sleep which may thus not be regarded as a complete interruption of subjective experience. On the other hand, this constancy converges with the continuity of the organismic life process as conceived from a third-person perspective. Thus, the experiential self of bodily subjectivity and the autopoietic self of the living organism should be regarded as two aspects of one and the same life process. Finally, the lived body also exhibits a specific form of memory that results from the continual embodiment of existence: it consists of all the affinities, capacities and experiences, which a person has acquired throughout his life. Thus, it provides a continuity of self that must not be actively produced through remembering, but rather integrates the person’s entire past in his present being and potentiality. (shrink)
The paper takes off from the problem of finding a proper content for the relation of identity as it holds or fails to hold among ordinary things or substances. The necessary conditions of identity are familiar, the sufficient conditions less so. The search is for conditions at once better usable than the Leibnizian Identity of Indiscernibles (independently suspect) and strong enough to underwrite all the formal properties of the relation.It is contended that the key to this problem rests at the (...) level of metaphysics and epistemology alike with a sortalist position. Sortalism is the position which insists that, if the question is whether a and b are the same, it has to be asked what are they? Any sufficiently specific answer to that question will bring with it a principle of activity or functioning and a mode of behaviour characteristic of some particular kind of thing by reference to which questions of persistence or non-persistence through change can be adjudicated.These contentions are illustrated by reference to familiar examples such as the human zygote, the Ship of Theseus and Shoemaker's Brown-Brownson. The first example is hostage for a mass of unproblematical cases. The problems presented by the second and third sort of examples arise chiefly (it is claimed) from an incompleteness in our conceptions of the relevant sort—the what the thing in question is. That incompleteness need not prevent us from knowing perfectly well which thing we are referring to. In the concluding section, sortalism is defended against various accusations of anthropocentrism.The paper touches on the interpretation of Heraclitus, Leibniz's theory of clear indistinct ideas, the difficulties of David Lewis's ‘perdurantist’ or stroboscopic view of persistence, four-dimensionalism, and the relation of personal identity both to experientialmemory and to the particular bodily physiognomy of a subject. At some points—as in connection with the so-called Only a and b rule—the paper corrects, supplements or extends certain theses or formulations proposed in the author's Sameness and Substance Renewed (2001). (shrink)
This essay pursues the psychological and communicological problematic of “lying” from the standpoint of Nietzsche, Bataille, and the psychoanalytic study of family systems. For purposes of this essay, “lying” will be defined as a conscious misrepresentation of one’s own experientialmemory. The essential argument of the essay, closely following Bataille’s concept of eroticism and communication, will be that the transformation of selfhood from childhood to adolescent sexual embodiment necessitates the performance of the lie as a necessary “crime” against (...) the home-world of the family system. Herman Hesse’s novel, Demian, serves as a critical source of illustration for the existential bargain of adolescence. (shrink)
Miller (1956) summarized evidence that people can remember about seven chunks in short-term memory (STM) tasks. However, that number was meant more as a rough estimate and a rhetorical device than as a real capacity limit. Others have since suggested that there is a more precise capacity limit, but that it is only three to five chunks. The present target article brings together a wide variety of data on capacity limits suggesting that the smaller capacity limit is real. Capacity (...) limits will be useful in analyses of information processing only if the boundary conditions for observing them can be carefully described. Four basic conditions in which chunks can be identified and capacity limits can accordingly be observed are: (1) when information overload limits chunks to individual stimulus items, (2) when other steps are taken specifically to block the recoding of stimulus items into larger chunks, (3) in performance discontinuities caused by the capacity limit, and (4) in various indirect effects of the capacity limit. Under these conditions, rehearsal and long-term memory cannot be used to combine stimulus items into chunks of an unknown size; nor can storage mechanisms that are not capacity-limited, such as sensory memory, allow the capacity-limited storage mechanism to be refilled during recall. A single, central capacity limit averaging about four chunks is implicated along with other, noncapacity-limited sources. The pure STM capacity limit expressed in chunks is distinguished from compound STM limits obtained when the number of separately held chunks is unclear. Reasons why pure capacity estimates fall within a narrow range are discussed and a capacity limit for the focus of attention is proposed. Key Words: attention; enumeration; information chunks; memory capacity; processing capacity; processing channels; serial recall; short-term memory; storage capacity; verbal recall; working memory capacity. (shrink)
This chapter first surveys general issues in the epistemic internalism / externalism debate: what is the distinction, what motivates it, and what arguments can be given on both sides. -/- The second part of the chapter will examine the internalism / externalism debate as regards to the specific case of the epistemology of memory belief.
Misremembering is a systematic and ordinary occurrence in our daily lives. Since it is commonly assumed that the function of memory is to remember the past, misremembering is typically thought to happen because our memory system malfunctions. In this paper I argue that not all cases of misremembering are due to failures in our memory system. In particular, I argue that many ordinary cases of misremembering should not be seen as instances of memory’s malfunction, but rather (...) as the normal result of a larger cognitive system that performs a different function, and for which remembering is just one operation. Building upon extant psychological and neuroscientific evidence, I offer a picture of memory as an integral part of a larger system that supports not only thinking of what was the case and what potentially could be the case, but also what could have been the case. More precisely, I claim that remembering is a particular operation of a cognitive system that permits the flexible recombination of different components of encoded traces into representations of possible past events that might or might not have occurred, in the service of constructing mental simulations of possible future events. So that imagination and memory are but one thing, which for diverse considerations hath diverse names.Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan 1.2. (shrink)
Memory technologies are cultural artifacts that scaffold, transform, and are interwoven with human biological memory systems. The goal of this article is to provide a systematic and integrative survey of their philosophical dimensions, including their metaphysical, epistemological and ethical dimensions, drawing together debates across the humanities, cognitive sciences, and social sciences. Metaphysical dimensions of memory technologies include their function, the nature of their informational properties, ways of classifying them, and their ontological status. Epistemological dimensions include the truth-conduciveness (...) of external memory, the conditions under which external memory counts as knowledge, and the metacognitive monitoring of external memory processes. And lastly, ethical and normative dimensions include the desirability of the effects memory technologies have on biological memory, their effects on self and culture, and their moral status. Whilst the focus in the article is largely philosophical and conceptual, empirical issues such as the way we interact with memory technologies in various contexts are also discussed. We thus take a naturalistic approach in which philosophical and empirical concepts and approaches are seen as continuous. (shrink)
This paper introduces a new, expanded range of relevant cognitive psychological research on collaborative recall and social memory to the philosophical debate on extended and distributed cognition. We start by examining the case for extended cognition based on the complementarity of inner and outer resources, by which neural, bodily, social, and environmental resources with disparate but complementary properties are integrated into hybrid cognitive systems, transforming or augmenting the nature of remembering or decision-making. Adams and Aizawa, noting this distinctive complementarity (...) argument, say that they agree with it completely: but they describe it as “a non-revolutionary approach” which leaves “the cognitive psychology of memory as the study of processes that take place, essentially without exception, within nervous systems.” In response, we carve out, on distinct conceptual and empirical grounds, a rich middle ground between internalist forms of cognitivism and radical anti-cognitivism. Drawing both on extended cognition literature and on Sterelny’s account of the “scaffolded mind” (this issue), we develop a multidimensional framework for understanding varying relations between agents and external resources, both technological and social. On this basis we argue that, independent of any more “revolutionary” metaphysical claims about the partial constitution of cognitive processes by external resources, a thesis of scaffolded or distributed cognition can substantially influence or transform explanatory practice in cognitive science. Critics also cite various empirical results as evidence against the idea that remembering can extend beyond skull and skin. We respond with a more principled, representative survey of the scientific psychology of memory, focussing in particular on robust recent empirical traditions for the study of collaborative recall and transactive social memory. We describe our own empirical research on socially distributed remembering, aimed at identifying conditions for mnemonic emergence in collaborative groups. Philosophical debates about extended, embedded, and distributed cognition can thus make richer, mutually beneficial contact with independently motivated research programs in the cognitive psychology of memory. (shrink)
Though researchers often refer to memory as if it were a unitary phenomenon, a natural kind, the apparent heterogeneity of the various "kinds" of memory casts doubt on this default view. This paper argues, first, that kinds of memory are individuated by memory systems. It argues, second, for a view of the nature of kinds of memory informed by the tri-level hypothesis. If this approach to kinds of memory is right, then memory is (...) not in fact a natural kind. (shrink)
The goal of this chapter is to describe recollective memory and give an account of some of the characteristics of this form of human memory. I take recollective memory to be the type of memory that occurs when an individual recalls a specific episode from their past experience. I start with this very loose definition because a large part of this chapter consists of an attempt to work out a more detailed and analytic description of this (...) form of memory. (shrink)
Through a selective historical, theoretical, and critical survey of the uses of the concept of scaffolding over the past 30 years, this chapter traces the development of the concept across developmental psychology, educational theory, and cognitive anthropology, and its place in the interdisciplinary field of distributed cognition from the 1990s. Offering a big-picture overview of the uses of the notion of scaffolding, it suggests three ways to taxonomise forms of scaffolding, and addresses the possible criticism that the metaphor of scaffolding (...) retains an overly individualist vision of cognition. The chapter is aimed at a broad interdisciplinary audience interested in processes of learning, teaching, and apprenticeship as they apply to the study of memory. (shrink)
This paper explores the implications of the psychology of constructive memory for philosophical theories of the metaphysics of memory and for a central question in the epistemology of memory. I first develop a general interpretation of the psychology of constructive memory. I then argue, on the basis of this interpretation, for an updated version of Martin and Deutscher's influential causal theory of memory. I conclude by sketching the implications of this updated theory for the question (...) of memory 's status as a generative epistemic source. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
The incorporation of post-event testimonial information into an agent’s memory representation of the event via constructive memory processes gives rise to the misinformation effect, in which the incorporation of inaccurate testimonial information results in the formation of a false memory belief. While psychological research has focussed primarily on the incorporation of inaccurate information, the incorporation of accurate information raises a particularly interesting epistemological question: do the resulting memory beliefs qualify as knowledge? It is intuitively plausible that (...) they do not, for they appear to be only luckily true. I argue, however, that, despite its intuitive plausibility, this view is mistaken: once we adopt an adequate (modal) conception of epistemic luck and an adequate (adaptive) general approach to memory, it becomes clear that memory beliefs resulting from the incorporation of accurate testimonial information are not in general luckily true. I conclude by sketching some implications of this argument for the psychology of memory, suggesting that the misinformation effect would better be investigated in the context of a broader “information effect”. (shrink)
A monumental work by an important modern philosopher, Matter and Memory (1896) represents one of the great inquiries into perception and memory, movement and time, matter and mind. Nobel Prize-winner Henri Bergson surveys these independent but related spheres, exploring the connection of mind and body to individual freedom of choice. Bergson’s efforts to reconcile the facts of biology to a theory of consciousness offered a challenge to the mechanistic view of nature, and his original and innovative views exercised (...) a profound influence on other philosophers--including James, Whitehead, and Santayana--as well as novelists such as Dos Passos and Proust. Matter and Memory is essential to an understanding of Bergson’s philosophy and its legacy. (shrink)
Theories of natural kinds can be seen to face a twofold task: First, they should provide an ontological account of what kinds of (fundamental) things there are, what exists. The second task is an epistemological one, accounting for the inductive reliability of acceptable scientific concepts. In this chapter I examine whether concepts and categories used in the cognitive sciences should be understood as natural kinds. By using examples from human memory research to illustrate my argument, I critically examine some (...) of the main contenders for a theory of natural kinds. I show that when applied to complex target domains – such as human cognition – both essentialist theories and more liberal accounts of natural kindhood (such as HPC theory) fail to simultaneously satisfy the ontological and epistemological desiderata for a theory of natural kinds. I argue, however, that natural kindhood of a category in a metaphysical sense is not necessary for its inductive reliability, and that HPC theory provides an analytically useful account of the grounds of category-based inductive inference. (shrink)
In his contribution to the first issue of Memory Studies, Jeffrey Olick notes that despite “the mutual affirmations of psychologists who want more emphasis on the social and sociologists who want more emphasis on the cognitive”, in fact “actual crossdisciplinary research … has been much rarer than affirmations about its necessity and desirability” (2008: 27). The peculiar, contingent disciplinary divisions which structure our academic institutions create and enable many powerful intellectual cultures: but memory researchers are unusually aware that (...) uneasy faultlines and glaring gulfs lie in the uncertain zones between them. The processes of memory are simultaneously natural and cultural. But our difficulties in imagining even fragments of a genuinely integrated framework for understanding diverse memory-related phenomena do not arise from a simple ‘two-cultures’ problem: it’s not as if there are substantially unified visions of memory within either ‘the sciences’ or ‘the humanities’. (shrink)
Memory is studied at a bewildering number of levels, with a vast array of methods, and in a daunting range of disciplines and subdisciplines. Is there any sense in which these various memory theorists – from neurobiologists to narrative psychologists, from the computational to the cross-cultural – are studying the same phenomena? In this exploratory position paper, I sketch the bare outline of a positive framework for understanding current work on constructive remembering, both within the various cognitive sciences, (...) and across gulfs between the cognitive and the social sciences. I pinpoint some lines of psychological theory and research which offer promising and compatible ways of thinking about individual memory and shared or social memory simultaneously. These are obviously ambitious projects, and this paper seeks more to elicit help with forging these connections than to present firm results. The aim is to draw out some consequences of empirical work on social memory and in developmental psychology. (shrink)
Over 100 years ago, Frances Galton began the empirical study of autobiographical memory by devising a technique in which he explored the capacity for a cue word to elicit the recollection of events from earlier life (Galton, 1883). After a century of neglect, the topic began to re-emerge, stimulated by the work of Robinson (1976) using the technique on groups of normal subjects, by Crovitz’s work on its application to patients with memory deficits (Crovitz & Schiffman, 1974), and (...) by the detailed diary study of her own autobiographical memory carried out by Marigold Linton (Linton, 1975). This early wave of interest was focused by Rubin’s edited book on the topic (Rubin, 1986) which captured a broad and growing interest in autobiographical memory. This trend was reflected very strongly in the submissions to the second conference on Practical Aspects of Memory, in which the study of autobiographical memory represented one of the major strands (Gruneberg, Morris & Sykes, 1988), featuring prominently in both the opening and concluding addresses (Baddeley, 1988; Neisser, 1988). (shrink)
An examination of the debates over the so-called 'false' memory syndrome. In this paper, I concur that memory is malleable, but interrogate notions of truth and falsity underlying standards used to evaluate the accuracy of memories of abuse. Such standards divert us, I suggest, from recognizing the truth behind widespread recollections of abuse at the hands of patriarchy.
According to what I term the Dependency Thesis, the ability to grasp the concept of the past depends on possession of episodic memory, i.e., the capacity to recollect particular past events. I consider two questions regarding the Dependency Thesis. First, suppose the Dependency Thesis is true. How exactly should we think of the role that episodic memory plays in grasp of the concept of the past? Secondly, is the Dependency Thesis actually true?
The most salient aspect of memory is its role in preserving previously acquired information so as to make it available for further activities. Anna realizes that something is amiss in a book on Roman history because she learned and remembers that Caesar was murdered. Max turned up at the party and distinctively remembers where he was seated, so he easily gets his hands on his lost cell phone. The fact that information is not gained anew distinguishes memory from (...) perception. The fact that information is preserved distinguishes memory from imagination. But how do acquisition and retrieval of information contribute to the phenomenology of memory?The exclusive aim of this chapter is to sketch a map of the phenomenology of memory. It is structured as follows. In section 1, I introduce the contrast between content (what is remembered) and psychological attitude (remembering). This distinction will be helpful in disentangling issues in the phenomenology of memory. Section 2 is devoted to the contribution of memory content to phenomenology, section 3 to the contribution of the attitude of remembering. (shrink)
I address the commentators' calls for clarification of theoretical terms, discussion of similarities to other proposals, and extension of the ideas. In doing so, I keep the focus on the purpose of memory: enabling the organism to make sense of its environment so that it can take action appropriate to constraints resulting from the physical, personal, social, and cultural situations.
Memory evolved to supply useful, timely information to the organism’s decision-making systems. Therefore, decision rules, multiple memory systems, and the search engines that link them should have coevolved to mesh in a coadapted, functionally interlocking way. This adaptationist perspective suggested the scope hypothesis: When a generalization is retrieved from semantic memory, episodic memories that are inconsistent with it should be retrieved in tandem to place boundary conditions on the scope of the generalization. Using a priming paradigm and (...) a decision task involving person memory, the authors tested and confirmed this hypothesis. The results support the view that priming is an evolved adaptation. They further show that dissociations between memory systems are not—and should not be—absolute: Independence exists for some tasks but not others. (shrink)