It seems natural to think that emotional experiences associated with a memory of a past event are new and present emotional states triggered by the remembered event. This common conception has nonetheless been challenged at the beginning of the 20th century by intellectuals who considered that emotions can be encoded and retrieved, and that emotional aspects linked to memories of the personal past need not necessary to be new emotional responses caused by the act of recollection. They called this specific (...) kind of memories “affective memories” and defended their existence. My aim here is to expound the historical background of this debate as well as the characterization and development of the notion of affective memory since its first inception. I aim to show that although the debate was left unresolved and the term disappeared from academy around 1930, many of the characterizations of the nature of emotions and memory done by the advocates of affective memory have reappeared in the scientific agenda and been further developed during the last decades. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Memory is not a unitary phenomenon. Even among the group of long-term individual memory representations (known in the literature as declarative memory) there seems to be a distinction between two kinds of memory: memory of personally experienced events (episodic memory) and memory of facts or knowledge about the world (semantic memory). Although this distinction seems very intuitive, it is not so clear in which characteristic or set of interrelated characteristics lies the difference. In this article, I present the different criteria (...) proposed in the philosophical and scientific literature in order to account for this distinction: (1) the vehicle of representation; (2) the grammar of the verb “to remember”; (3) the cause of the memory; (4) the memory content; and (5) the phenomenology of memory representations. Whereas some criteria seem more plausible than others, I show that all of them are problematic and none of them really fulfill their aim. I then briefly outline a different criterion, the affective criterion, which seems a promising line of research to try to understand the grounds of this distinction. (shrink)
Despite the popularity that the embodied cognition thesis has gained in recent years, explicit memories of events personally experienced are still conceived as disembodied mental representations. It seems that we can consciously remember our personal past through sensory imagery, through concepts, propositions and language, but not through the body. In this article, I defend the idea that the body constitutes a genuine means of representing past personal experiences. For this purpose, I focus on the analysis of bodily movements associated with (...) the retrieval of a personal memory, which have certain features that make them different from procedural memories, pragmatic actions and common gestures, as well as other forms of embodied memories found in recent literature. I refer to these as “kinetic memories” and analyse their representative nature as well as their adaptive functions. Kinetic memories are bodily movements in which some event or action that took place in the past can be seen, because they are an externalisation of the subject’s inner intention of representing a past personal experience. Kinetic memories represent a past experience sometimes by imitation of a past movement, and other times through embodied symbols and metaphors. Furthermore, although sometimes they present direct pragmatic benefits, such as communicative benefits, they seem to enhance the whole reexperience of the past event and memory recall, which I argue is one important adaptive value. (shrink)
The notion of epistemic responsibility applied to memory has been in general examined in the framework of the responsibilities that a collective holds for past injustices, but it has never been the object of an analysis of its own. In this article, I propose to isolate and explore it in detail. For this purpose, I start by conceptualizing the epistemic responsibility applied to individual memories. I conclude that an epistemic responsible individual rememberer is a vigilant agent who knows when to (...) engage in different kinds of mental and non-mental actions in order to monitor and update her memories, and who develops and nurture different kinds of virtuous attitudes that guide those actions. These (epistemic) virtuous attitudes are oriented not only towards herself but also towards others. Whereas this conception of epistemic responsibility does not pose a problem to understand shared memories of family members and friends, it may seem suspicious when applied to large-scale collective memories. These memories, which I name historical memories, are memories of events that have a traumatic impact for the community, are permeated by unequal relations of power, keep a complex relationship with historical science, and present other characteristics that distinguish them from individual memories. But despite these differences, the analysis undertaken in this work shows that the general principles that govern the epistemic responsibility of individual and (large-scale) collective rememberers are similar, and are based on similar grounds: pragmatic considerations about the consequences of misremembering or forgetting and a feeling of care. The similarities at the individual and collective scale of the epistemic vigilant attitude that is and should be taken toward our significant past may partially justify the use of the same epithet—“memory”—to refer to these different kinds of representations. (shrink)
Plaçant au centre de ses recherches la vie affective humaine, Théodule Ribot (1839-1916), qui participe au développement de la psychologie scientifique en France, est l’un des premiers à penser les rapports entre mémoire et émotions. Au sein de ce qu’il appelle la « mémoire affective », Ribot pense qu’il existe une mémoire spécifique des émotions. A l’intérieur de la communauté des psychologues scientifiques sa proposition a pour effet d’initier un débat à propos de l’existence, de la définition et du contenu (...) de cette mémoire. Le présent article vise à proposer une synthèse et une analyse critique du développement théorique de la notion de « mémoire affective » au début du 20 e siècle. Après avoir détaillé les propositions initiales de Ribot, nous mettons en évidence l’émergence progressive d’un consensus : même si d’un point de vue théorique il est possible de distinguer la mémoire affective de la mémoire intellectuelle, tout souvenir présente des éléments intellectuels et des éléments affectifs à des degrés variables, allant de l’évocation abstraite du passé grâce aux concepts langagiers, à la reviviscence de l’émotion passée. Si dans le cadre académique ces débats sont tombés dans l’oubli, nous montrons brièvement à la fin de cet article qu’il est toutefois possible d’établir une continuité conceptuelle avec la recherche actuelle en sciences cognitives et en neurosciences, qui gagneraient à relire cette littérature centenaire. (shrink)
This thesis is intended to analyze a mental phenomenon widely neglected in current philosophical discussions: personal memories. The first part presents a general framework to better understand what personal memories are, how we access our personal past and what we access about our personal past. Chapter 1 introduces traditional theories of memory: direct realism and representationalism in their different versions, as well as some objections. I defend here a particular form of representationalism that is based on the distinction between content, (...) intentional object and ontological object. Chapter 2 explores the possible contents of our personal memories, which prove to be heterogeneous, whereas chapter 3 analyses their possible intentional objects, with a special focus on past events. The second part of the thesis explores an aspect of our personal memories that was omitted in the first part: the senses in which our personal past is apprehended as personal. Chapter 4 examines the way in which the “self” intervenes in the construction of our personal memories. Chapters 5 and 6 focus on the analysis of what seems to be the most subjective aspect of our memories, that is, the emotions and feelings of our past experiences. In these last two chapters, I analyze the different interactions that can take place between memories and emotions and defend the idea that there can be emotional memories that are reducible neither to a propositional memory nor an occurrent and present emotion. The overall intention of this thesis is twofold. First, I aim to show to the philosophical community that there is still a lot to be said and discussed about memory as a mental phenomenon. And second, I intend to emphasize the importance of bringing into the philosophical discussions about the mind ideas coming from different philosophical traditions as well as ideas and empirical data coming from scientific research. (shrink)
La metáfora de la memoria como “viaje mental en el tiempo” (“mental time travel” en inglés) ha tenido una gran influencia en la ciencia cognitiva de la memoria así como también en la filosofía de la memoria contemporánea. A pesar de su relevancia, no ha habido ninguna discusión teórica real ni sobre el significado de la metáfora en sí misma ni sobre su adecuación para dar cuenta de los recuerdos de experiencias pasadas. Este artículo trata de llenar este vacío al (...) examinar con más detalle la metáfora del “viaje mental en el tiempo”, centrándose más específicamente en los problemas que dicha noción presenta. Si la metáfora del “viaje mental en el tiempo” pretende referir no solo a una facultad o sistema cerebral sino también a una experiencia subjetiva particular, como así ha sido sugerido en la literatura, no es de por sí evidente que sea compatible con las nociones de (re)construcción y simulación con las que se la asocia frecuentemente, ni que describa de manera fehaciente la fenomenología de todo recuerdo del pasado personal. Si, por el contrario, sólo se refiere a una facultad o sistema cerebral y no pretende dar cuenta de la fenomenología del recuerdo, el uso de dicho término parece perder todo sentido para nombrar dicha facultad. A pesar de su relevancia, la metáfora del “viaje mental en el tiempo” no se ha impuesto como paradigma único: otras metáforas distintas continúan guiando actualmente programas más o menos fructíferos de investigación de la memoria. El artículo concluye que aunque dicha metáfora fue beneficiosa en su momento para la ciencia y la filosofía de la memoria, el examen minucioso de dicha noción sugiere que no constituye realmente una buena metáfora de la memoria sobre las experiencias pasadas, por lo que debería ser abandonada. (shrink)
(written in 2017) According to Dorothea Debus (2007), all emotional aspects related to an act of remembering are present and new emotional responses to the remembered past event. This is a common conception of the nature of the emotional aspect of personal memories, if not explicitly defended then at least implicitly accepted in the literature. In this article, I first criticize Debus’ arguments and demonstrate that she does not give us valid reasons to believe that all the emotional aspects related (...) to a memory are present and new emotional responses to that past event. I then criticize Debus’ thesis tout court for being a direct consequence of assuming a particular conceptualization of the nature of emotions: emotions as physiological changes. Finally, based on a different conceptualization of emotions that focuses on their relational nature, I propose an alternative framework for analyzing the different possible emotional aspects of our personal memories. This leads me to conclude, contrary to Debus, that some emotional aspects of our memories are not occurrent emotions but are better conceived as quasi-emotions. (shrink)
La Dra. Marina Trakas, coordinadora del dossier "Memoria y emoción" de la Revista de Psicología de la UNLP presenta los contenidos del mismo: -/- Trakas - Memoria y emoción: introducción al dossier Ramirez, Ruetti et al. - Memoria emocional en niñas y niños de diferentes condiciones socio-ambientales Saive - Reír para recordar: mejora de la memoria en relación con el humor Diaz Abrahan, Justel et al. - Memoria emocional. Una revisión sistemática de la capacidad modulatoria de la música, de la (...) actividad física y del bilingüismo Bonilla, Forcato et al. - Mejora de las memorias maladaptativas durante el sueno y la vigilia: una visión interdisciplinaria Fierro - Eros el memorioso Trakas - Dimensiones de análisis de los recuerdos personales como recuerdos afectivos Vieira Lopes - Sentimientos existenciales y memoria corporal: dos casos en la filosofía de la psiquiatría . (shrink)
La investigación reciente en psicología cognitiva sobre la memoria emocional ha estudiado las distintas formas en que las emociones afectan a la memoria, sin profundizar no obstante en la comprensión de la manera en que los aspectos emocionales, afectivos y mnemónicos se encuentran estrechamente entrelazados en el contenido mismo de un acto de reminiscencia. En este artículo propongo un marco conceptual de análisis que nos permite entender los recuerdos personales como recuerdos esencialmente afectivos, y que se articula en torno a (...) dos variables continuas e independientes: por un lado, la intencionalidad del recuerdo, es decir, el objeto hacia el cual el recuerdo está dirigido, que puede ser descriptiva o evaluativa; por el otro, la perspectiva afectiva del recuerdo, que puede fluctuar desde la perspectiva de primera persona hasta la perspectiva de tercera persona. Las dos dimensiones son analizadas en profundidad y las limitaciones de este marco y las futuras líneas de investigación son igualmente presentadas. (shrink)
What does it take for a subject to experience a personal memory as being her own? According to Fernández’ (2019) model of endorsement, this particular phenomenal quality of our memories, their “sense of mineness”, can be explained in terms of the experience of the mnemonic content as veridical. In this article, I criticize this model for two reasons: (a) the evidence that is used by Fernández to ground his theoretical proposal is dubious; and more importantly, (b) the endorsement model does (...) not accommodate many non-pathological everyday memories that preserve their sense of mineness, but whose veridicality is explicitly denied, suspected, not automatically endorsed, or neither denied nor endorsed. Finally, I sketch two alternative explanations: one also problematic, the other one more promising, and present some normative advantages of the latter. This also displays the undesirability of the endorsement model from a normative perspective. (shrink)
The notion of affective memory was first introduced by Théodule Ribot (1894), giving rise to a debate about its existence at the beginning of the 20th century. Although Vernon Lee did not directly take part in this discussion, she conceptualized this notion in a quite precise way, mainly in her book Music and Its Lovers (1932), clarifying the sometimes obscure formulations made by previous authors. In this short encyclopedic entry, I present Lee's characterization of affective memory.
Taking as starting point Akira Kurosawa’s film, I analyse the tension between the reconstructive nature of memory and the possibility of knowing truths from the past, and I explore if the tendency to align our personal memories to our present interests necessarily leads to an sceptic and relativistic vision of the knowledge from the past.
The relationship between music and memory is mainly developed in Music and Its Lovers (1932), a book where Lee presents interesting psychological and philosophical insights from the analysis of the responses made by 150 people to a questionnaire about the “expressive and emotional powers of music”. In this short encyclopedic entry, I present Lee's analysis of the many different ways in which musical experience depends on memory.
In this Master's dissertation, I try to show that the causal theory of memory, which is the only theory developed so far that at first view seems more plausible and that could be integrated with psychological explanations and investigations of memory, shows some conceptual and ontological problems that go beyond the internal inconsistencies that each version can present. On one hand, the memory phenomenon analyzed is very limited: in general it is reduced to the conscious act of remembering expressed in (...) a propositional format: the idea of an agent who can control his memory reports, in contrast to a passive subject who merely retrieve his encoded memories, is not even considered. Furthermore, the representational function of memory is the only function taken into account; and all the diachronic changes that could entail a dynamic conception of memory are ignored, as is the consideration of context in a broad sense of the term. On the other hand, causal theories make some implicit assumptions that are obviously questionable (e.g., the difference between facts and events) and leave some of their key concepts unexplained, like the nature of the causality, the isomorphism between the memory trace and the memory event, etc. Nonetheless, the principal point that we criticized is the idea of a correspondence between a past event or representation of it, the correspondent memory trace and the memory representation of it. Psychological models of memory, with the exception of the spatial analogy, question some of these assumptions and suggest that memory information is organized in a way other than that implied by the causal theory. But it is distributed connectionism that actually challenges the causal theory of memory, not only through some of its basic postulates, like the superpositional conception of memory traces, their mutual influence and constant state of change, but also because it is compatible with a more situated approach to memory phenomena as well as with the idea that memory in reality accomplishes a variety of functions that go beyond the representational one. The explicit and implicit ideas provided by distributed connectionism, together with the previous criticisms that we made to of causal theory, clearly suggest the possibility of developing another kind of philosophical theory of memory, different from existing theories. This task, nonetheless, implies: (a) A much deeper study of connectionism principles and memory models, as well as of the rival candidate, symbolism, plus the evaluation of these models in the light of psychological and neurophysiological empirical research, which unfortunately I have not dealt with in this work. (b) An analysis of the metaphysical nature of events and facts, in order to see if we should decide in favor of a realist or a non-realist account. It is also clear that this decision can’t be taken without an examination of perception studies (and not exclusively philosophical ones) which would be crucial for determining what is encoded in memory, and studies devoted to language, which, I suspect, plays an important role in the segmentation of reality. (c) A clarification of the notion of causality, because we wouldn’t like to deny any kind entail the complete disappearance of boundaries between memory and imagination. And even if I suspect that my future work will question the existence of absolute boundaries between these two capacities, the notion of causality can’t be completely erase from the theory of memory without erasing the memory phenomenon itself. But this causality, as we’ve already showed, can’t consist in the naïve conception adopted by the causal accounts of memory, nor can it be explained in counterfactual terms. If we think of the reconsolidation concept, of the interdependence between all the memory system, and of the deciding influence of context, it’s almost sure that more than one notion of causality will need to be invoked in order to explain memory. (d) Because I do not want to reduce the study of memory exclusively to cases of remembering, it’s essential to analyze how memory intervenes not only in imagination, but also in perception, reasoning and future projection, for example. In this respect, we could quote the interesting articles of Atance & O’Neill (2001) and Bucker & Carroll (2006), the first concerning the relationship between episodic memory and episodic future thinking, the second concerning the relationship between episodic memory and all kinds of self-projection, such as navigation and theory of mind, relations that would also have to be explored from a philosophical perspective, in particular to overcome the tendency to suppose that representation is the only function of memory. I will also mention the necessity of combining the notion of metamemory with that of memory to some extent; as I have already remarked, it is implausible to suppose that a subject who consciously remembers something is unable to exert any kind of control over his memory reports. (e) Finally, in order to integrate a situated conception of memory into a philosophical account, it will also be indispensable to take into consideration what is known as “everyday memory research” as well as studies in social and collective memory. (shrink)