The philosophical case for extended cognition is often made with reference to ‘extended-memory cases’ ; though, unfortunately, proponents of the hypothesis of extended cognition as well as their adversaries have failed to appreciate the kinds of epistemological problems extended-memory cases pose for mainstream thinking in the epistemology of memory. It is time to give these problems a closer look. Our plan is as follows: in §1, we argue that an epistemological theory remains compatible with HEC only if (...) its epistemic assessments do not violate what we call ‘the epistemic parity principle’. In §2, we show how the constraint of respecting the epistemic parity principle stands in what appears to be a prima facie intractable tension with mainstream thinking about cases of propositionalmemory. We then outline and evaluate in §3 several lines of response. (shrink)
Four experiments assessed the relative involvement of different working memory components in two types of reasoning tasks: propositional and spatial reasoning. Using the secondary-task methodology, visual, central-executive, and phonological loads were realised. Although the involvement of visuospatial resources in propositional reasoning has traditionally been considered to be small, an overall analysis of the present data suggests an alternative account. A theoretical analysis of the pattern of results in terms of Evans' (1984, 1989) twostage theory of reasoning is (...) proposed and tested in Experiments 3 and 4, in which direct evidence for the alternative account was obtained: significant disruption of propositional reasoning by a concurrent spatial load. (shrink)
We examine the role of working memory's central executive in the mental model explanation of propositional reasoning by using two working memory measures: the classical “reading span” test by Daneman and Carpenter (1980) and a new measure. This new “reasoning span” measure requires individuals to solve very simple anaphora problems, and store and remember the word solution in a growing series of inferential problems. We present one experiment in which we check the involvement of the central executive (...) in conditional and disjunctive inference tasks and compare predictions of the new reasoning span test with those of the classical reading span test. The results of the experiment confirm that reasoning responses, which according to mental model theory require high cognitive work, are predicted by working memory measures. Results also show that some reasoning responses are probably obtained by means of superficial biases or strategies that do not load working memory. The reasoning span test, which involves the central executive to a greater degree, predicts reasoning performance better than the reading span test. The significance and possibilities of the new measure in studying reasoning are discussed. (shrink)
A long-standing debate surrounds the question as to what justifies memory judgements. According to the Past Reason Theory, these judgements are justified by the reasons we had to make identical judgements in the past, whereas the Present Reason Theory claims that these justifying reasons are to be found at the time we pass the memory judgements. In this paper, I defend the original claim that, far from being exclusive, these two theories should be applied to different kinds of (...)memory judgements. The Past Reason Theory offers the most appealing account of justified propositionalmemory judgements, while the Present Reason Theory provides the best approach to justified episodic memory judgements. One outcome of my discussion is thus that memory is not epistemologically unified and my argument in favour of this conclusion connects with the issues of internalism, reliabilism and the basing relation. (shrink)
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)
Sven Bernecker develops a theory of propositionalmemory that is at odds with the received epistemic theory of memory. On Bernecker’s account the belief that is remembered must be true, but it need not constitute knowledge, nor even have been true at the time it was acquired. I examine his reasons for thinking the epistemic theory of memory is false and mount a defense of the epistemic theory.
The past 50 years have seen an accumulation of evidence suggesting that associative learning depends on high-level cognitive processes that give rise to propositional knowledge. Yet, many learning theorists maintain a belief in a learning mechanism in which links between mental representations are formed automatically. We characterize and highlight the differences between the propositional and link approaches, and review the relevant empirical evidence. We conclude that learning is the consequence of propositional reasoning processes that cooperate with the (...) unconscious processes involved in memory retrieval and perception. We argue that this new conceptual framework allows many of the important recent advances in associative learning research to be retained, but recast in a model that provides a firmer foundation for both immediate application and future research. (shrink)
The Centered Mind offers a new view of the nature and causal determinants of both reflective thinking and, more generally, the stream of consciousness. Peter Carruthers argues that conscious thought is always sensory-based, relying on the resources of the working-memory system. This system enables sensory images to be sustained and manipulated through attentional signals directed at midlevel sensory areas of the brain. When abstract conceptual representations are bound into these images, we consciously experience ourselves as making judgments or arriving (...) at decisions. However, our amodal propositional attitudes are never actually among the contents of this stream of conscious reflection. Our beliefs, goals, and decisions are only ever active in the background of consciousness, working behind the scenes. They are never themselves conscious.Drawing on extensive knowledge of the scientific literature on working memory and related topics, Carruthers challenges the central assumptions of many philosophers. In addition to arguing that non-sensory propositional attitudes are never conscious, he also shows that they are never under direct intentional control. Written with his usual clarity and directness, The Centered Mind will be essential reading for all philosophers and cognitive scientists interested in the nature of human thought processes. (shrink)
Externalism1 is the thesis that some propositional attitudes depend for their individuation on features of the thinker’s (social and/or physical) environment. The doctrine of self-knowledge of thoughts is the thesis that for all thinkers S and occurrent thoughts that p, S has authoritative and non-empirical knowledge of her thought that p. A much-discussed question in the literature is whether these two doctrines are compatible. In this paper I attempt to respond to one argument for an incompatibilist conclusion, Boghossian’s 1989 (...) ‘Memory Argument.’. (shrink)
We conducted a computer-based psychological experiment in which a random mix of 40 tautologies and 40 non-tautologies were presented to the participants, who were asked to determine which ones of the formulas were tautologies. The participants were eight university students in computer science who had received tuition in propositional logic. The formulas appeared one by one, a time-limit of 45 s applied to each formula and no aids were allowed. For each formula we recorded the proportion of the participants (...) who classified the formula correctly before timeout and the mean response time among those participants. We propose a new proof formalism for modeling propositional reasoning with bounded cognitive resources. It models declarative memory, visual memory, working memory, and procedural memory according to the memory model of Atkinson and Shiffrin and reasoning processes according to the model of Newell and Simon. We also define two particular proof systems, T and NT, for showing propositional formulas to be tautologies and non-tautologies, respectively. The accuracy was found to be higher for non-tautologies than for tautologies ( p T was.89 and for non-tautologies the correlation between latency and minimum proof length in NT was.87. (shrink)
Sven Bernecker presents a new causal theory of memory, examining a number of metaphysical and epistemological issues crucial to the understanding of propositional or factual memory. This book provides sophisticated and comprehensive coverage of a much neglected area of philosophy, and will also appeal to cognitive scientists and psychologists.
Sven Bernecker’s contribution to the ongoing revival in the philosophy of memory offers a consistent vision and analysis of propositional remembering, and covers a range of topics in analytic metaphysics and epistemology. Bernecker defends a methodological externalism, by which memory ‘must be analyzed from a third-person point of view’ (34): so even though conceptual analysis remains the primary method, the ‘linguistic intuitions’ that guide it ‘are not a priori but empirical working hypotheses’ (31). Given the central role (...) of such intuitions in Bernecker’s treatment of many briefly described thought experiments throughout the book, it is strange that he does not defend their use more explicitly in this early section on method, instead leaving it to a later footnote (147, n. 11) to say that ‘trying to defend the use of intuitions in the philosophy of memory would . . . take us too far afield’. Bernecker’s subtitle signals a restricted target audience: this is a book for those analytic philosophers who will enjoy long exegeses on Twin Earth, slow switching or quasi-memory. Psychological results on memory are cited, but only piecemeal, and interactive dialogue with scientific theory is not Bernecker’s aim. (shrink)
Mitchell et al.'s claim, that their propositional theory is a single-process theory, is illusory because they relegate some learning to a secondary memory process. This renders the single-process theory untestable. The propositional account is not a process theory of learning, but rather, a heuristic that has led to interesting research.
Many philosophers have argued that psychological time is a fundamental, inherent quality of consciousness that provides continuity and sequence to mental events—enabling memory. And, since memory is consciousness, psychological time enables the individual intentionality of consciousness. Levinas , on the other hand, argues that an individual’s past, in the most original sense, is the past of other. The irreducible alterity of one’s past sets the stage for the other who co-determines the meaning of the past. This paper is (...) about the exploration cultural memory within the context of a Caucasian doctoral student entering into an African-American community during an internship, who finds that cultural memories are remarkably more complicated than the propositional description of historic events. The paper further explores how cultural memory is not a record of “what happened” but a sociolinguistic creative meaning making process. Histories can be contested. Memory, on the other hand, never adheres to the strict true or false dichotomy. Memory is like searching for the Divine, it cannot be found, only revealed in mysterious and small details. Memory, is the intruding of the infinite, creating as an effect the idea of a finite , they are not “representations” of the past nor are they a kind of mnemonic system of subjectivism to mediate all of consciousness. (shrink)
Abstract In the first section of the paper I present Alan Turing?s notion of effective memory, as it appears in his 1936 paper ?On Computable Numbers, With an Application to The Entscheidungsproblem?. This notion stands in surprising contrast with the way memory is usually thought of in the context of contemporary computer science. Turing?s view (in 1936) is that for a computing machine to remember a previously scanned string of symbols is not to store an internal symbolic image (...) of this string. Rather, memory consists in the fact that the past scanning of the string affects the behavior of the computer in the face of potential future inputs. In the second, central section of the paper I begin exploring how this view of Turing?s bears upon contemporary discussions in the philosophy of mind. In particular, I argue that Turing?s approach can be used to lend support to dispositional conceptions of the propositional attitudes, like the one recently presented by Matthews (2007), and that his effective memory manifests some of the characteristics of Millikan?s (1996) pushmepullyou mental states. (shrink)
The propositional account of explicit and implicit knowledge interprets cognitive differences between direct and indirect test performance as emerging from the elements in different hierarchical levels of the propositional representation that have been made explicit. The hierarchical nature of explicitness is challenged, however, on the basis of neuropsychological dissociations between direct and indirect tests of memory, as well as the stochastic independence that has been observed between these two types of tests. Furthermore, format specificity on indirect test (...) of memory challenges the basic notion of a propositional theory of implicit and explicit knowledge. (shrink)
The senses present their content in the form of images, three-dimensional arrays of located sense features. Peacocke’s “scenario content” is one attempt to capture image content; here, a richer notion is presented, sensory images include located objects and features predicated of them. It is argued that our grasp of the meaning of these images implies that they have propositional content. Two problems concerning image content are explored. The first is that even on an enriched conception, image content has certain (...) expressive limitations. In particular, it cannot express absolute location and time (as opposed to spatiotemporal relations) or logical complexity. Yet, perceptual experience does seem to express certain absolute locations—namely, here and now. How can it do so? Secondly, image content cannot exhaust the significance of perceptual states. This is proved by noting that perception, memory, and anticipation can have the same image content. Yet they have different significance. These problems show that some of the significance of sensory states comes from outside the image. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
I argue first that attention is a (maybe the) paradigmatic case of an object-directed, non-propositional intentional mental episode. In addition attention cannot be reduced to any other (propositional or non-propositional) mental episodes. Yet, second, attention is not a non-propositional mental attitude. It might appear puzzling how one could hold both of these claims. I show how to combine them, and how that combination shows how propositionality and non-propositionality can co-exist in a mental life. The crucial move (...) is one away from an atomistic, building block picture to a more holistic, structural picture. (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?
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)
Memory of past episodes provides a sense of personal identity — the sense that I am the same person as someone in the past. We present a neurological case study of a patient who has accurate memories of scenes from his past, but for whom the memories lack the sense of mineness. On the basis of this case study, we propose that the sense of identity derives from two components, one delivering the content of the memory and the (...) other generating the sense of mineness. We argue that this new model of the sense of identity has implications for debates about quasi-memory. In addition, articulating the components of the sense of identity promises to bear on the extent to which this sense of identity provides evidence of personal identity. (shrink)
All recent memory theories of hippocampal function have incorporated the idea that the hippocampus is required to process items only of some qualitatively specifiahle kind, and is not required to process items of some complementary set. In contrast, it is now proposed that the hippocampus is needed to process stimuli of all kinds, but only when there is a need to associate those stimuli with other events that are temporally discontiguous. In order to form or use temporally discontiguous associations, (...) it is essential to maintain some memory of the first component until the second component has occurred. When the temporal gap to he spanned is small, and the number of items to be temporarily retained is low, a limited-capacity, short-term store is sufficient to allow associations to be formed. Such a store is presumed to operate in parallel with the hippocampus in normal animals. Hippocampal damage disrupts a much higher-capacity store that has a slower decay rate, and so leaves animals with only a very limited ability to form temporally discontiguous associations. Hippocampal damage, however, is not held to affect the long-term storage of associations of any kind, if they can be formed. Analyses of both new and existing data are presented to show that by classifying tasks in terms of the need to use a temporary memory store to retain temporally discontiguous information one can cut right across existing classifications as well as achieve a better fit to the data. The hippocampus thus seems best described as a high-capacity, intermediate-term memory store. (shrink)
According to the hypotheses of distributed and extended cognition, remembering does not always occur entirely inside the brain but is often distributed across heterogeneous systems combining neural, bodily, social, and technological resources. These ideas have been intensely debated in philosophy, but the philosophical debate has often remained at some distance from relevant empirical research, while empirical memory research, in particular, has been somewhat slow to incorporate distributed/extended ideas. This situation, however, appears to be changing, as we witness an increasing (...) level of interaction between the philosophy and the empirical research. In this editorial, we provide a high-level historical overview of the development of the debates around the hypotheses of distributed and extended cognition, as well as relevant theory and empirical research on memory, considering both the role of memory in theoretical debates around distributed/extended ideas and strands of memory research that resonate with those ideas; we emphasize recent trends towards increased interaction, including new empirical paradigms for investigating distributed memory systems. We then provide an overview of the special issue itself, drawing out a number of general implications from the contributions, and conclude by sketching promising directions for future research on distributed memory. (shrink)
This book investigates central issues in the philosophy of memory. Does remembering require a causal process connecting the past representation to its subsequent recall and, if so, what is the nature of the causal process? Of what kind are the primary intentional objects of memory states? How do we know that our memory experiences portray things the way they happened in the past? Given that our memory is not only a passive device for reproducing thoughts but (...) also an active device for processing stored thoughts, when are thoughts sufficiently similar to be memory-related? -/- The Metaphysics of Memory defends a version of the causal theory of memory, argues for direct realism about memory, proposes an externalist response to skepticism about memory knowledge, and develops a contextualist account of the factivity constraint on memory. (shrink)
Reprinted in Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, Wadsworth 2015, 6th edition, eds Michael Rea and Louis Pojman. What is propositional faith? At a first approximation, we might answer that it is the psychological attitude picked out by standard uses of the English locution “S has faith that p,” where p takes declarative sentences as instances, as in “He has faith that they’ll win”. Although correct, this answer is not nearly as informative as we might like. Many people say that (...) there is a more informative answer. They say that, at the very least, propositional faith requires propositional belief. More precisely, they say that faith that p requires belief that p or that it must be partly constituted by belief that p. This view is common enough; call it the Common View. I have two main aims in this paper: (i) to exhibit the falsity of the Common View and the paucity of reasons for it, and (ii) to sketch a more accurate and comprehensive account of what propositional faith is. (shrink)
Memory seems intuitively to consist in the preservation of some proposition (in the case of semantic memory) or sensory image (in the case of episodic memory). However, this intuition faces fatal difficulties. Semantic memory has to be updated to reflect the passage of time: it is not just preservation. And episodic memory can occur in a format (the observer perspective) in which the remembered image is different from the original sensory image. These difficulties indicate that (...)memory cannot be preserved content. It is proposed that what is preserved in memory isan underlying "trace", and that in every act of remembering, memorial content is reconstructed from the preserved trace. (shrink)