People often talk to others about their personal past. These discussions are inherently selective. Selective retrieval of memories in the course of a conversation may induce forgetting of unmentioned but related memories for both speakers and listeners (Cuc, Koppel, & Hirst, 2007). Cuc et al. (2007) defined the forgetting on the part of the speaker as within-individual retrieval-induced forgetting (WI-RIF) and the forgetting on the part of the listener as socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting (SS-RIF). However, (...) if the forgetting associated with WI-RIF and SS-RIF is to be taken seriously as a mechanism that shapes both individual and shared memories, this mechanism must be demonstrated with meaningful material and in ecologically valid groups. In our first 2 experiments we extended SS-RIF from unemotional, experimenter-contrived material to the emotional and unemotional autobiographical memories of strangers (Experiment 1) and intimate couples (Experiment 2) when merely overhearing the speaker selectively practice memories. We then extended these results to the context of a free-flowing conversation (Experiments 3 and 4). In all 4 experiments we found WI-RIF and SS-RIF regardless of the emotionalvalence or individual ownership of the memories. We discuss our findings in terms of the role of conversational silence in shaping both our personal and shared pasts. (shrink)
Forgetting is importantly related to remembering, evidence possession, epistemic virtue, personal identity, and a host of highly-researched memory conditions. In this paper I examine the nature of forgetting. I canvass the viable options for forgetting’s ontological category, type of content, characteristic relation to content, and scale. I distinguish several theories of forgetting in the philosophy and psychology of memory literatures, theories that diverge on these options. The best theories from the literature, I claim, fail two critical (...) tests that I develop (the metacognition and prospection tests), underwriting arguments against the theories. I introduce a new theory about the state of forgetting—the learning, access failure, dispositional (LEAD) theory: to forget is to fail to access something that is both learned and either inaccessible or intended to be accessed. I argue that the LEAD theory of forgetting is the lead theory of forgetting. It passes the metacognition and prospection tests, and has several further virtues at no cost. Finally, I advocate reductionism about the process of forgetting; the process reduces wholly to states of forgetting. In particular, a process of forgetting is just a sequence of increasingly strong states of forgetting. (shrink)
Some theorists, ranging from W. James to contemporary psychologists, have argued that forgetting is the key to proper functioning of memory. The authors elaborate on the notion of beneficial forgetting by proposing that loss of information aids inference heuristics that exploit mnemonic information. To this end, the authors bring together 2 research programs that take an ecological approach to studying cognition. Specifically, they implement fast and frugal heuristics within the ACT-R cognitive architecture. Simulations of the recognition heuristic, which (...) relies on systematic failures of recognition to infer which of 2 objects scores higher on a criterion value, demonstrate that forgetting can boost accuracy by increasing the chances that only 1 object is recognized. Simulations of the fluency heuristic, which arrives at the same inference on the basis of the speed with which objects are recognized, indicate that forgetting aids the discrimination between the objects' recognition speeds. (shrink)
French theorist Luce Irigaray has become one of the twentieth century's most influential feminist thinkers. Among her many writings are three books (with a projected fourth) in which she challenges the Western tradition's construals of human beings' relations to the four elements--earth, air, fire, and water--and to nature. In answer to Heidegger's undoing of Western metaphysics as a "forgetting of Being," Irigaray seeks in this work to begin to think out the Being of sexedness and the sexedness of Being. (...) This volume is the first English translation of L'oubli de l'air chez Martin Heidegger (1983). In this complex, lyrical, meditative engagement with the later work of the eminent German philosopher, Irigaray critiques Heidegger's emphasis on the element of earth as the ground of life and speech and his "oblivion" or forgetting of air. With the other volumes (Elemental Passions and Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche) in Irigaray's "elemental" series, The Forgetting of Air offers a fundamental rereading of basic tenets in Western metaphysics. And with its emphasis on dwelling and human habitation, it will be important reading not only in the humanities but also in architecture and the environmental sciences. (shrink)
We model the forgetting of propositional variables in a modal logical context where agents become ignorant and are aware of each others’ or their own resulting ignorance. The resulting logic is sound and complete. It can be compared to variable-forgetting as abstraction from information, wherein agents become unaware of certain variables: by employing elementary results for bisimulation, it follows that beliefs not involving the forgotten atom(s) remain true.
In a recent article for this journal, Bryan Pilkington makes a number of critical observations about one of our arguments for non-traditional medical conscientious objectors’ duty to refer. Non-traditional conscientious objectors are those professionals who object to indirectly performing actions—like, say, referring to a physician who will perform an abortion. In our response here, we discuss his central objection and clarify our position on the role of value conflicts in non-traditional conscientious objection.
It can sound absurd to report that you have forgotten a moral truth. Described cases in which people who have lost moral beliefs exhibit the behavioural and phenomenological symptoms of forgetting can seem similarly absurd. I examine these phenomena, and evaluate a range of hypotheses that might be offered to explain them. These include the following proposals: that it is hard to forget moral truths because they are believed on the basis of intuition; that moral forgetting seems puzzling (...) for the same reason that forgetting what you approve or disapprove of seems puzzling; and that moral truths matter too much to us to be easily forgotten. I conclude that the best explanation for the phenomena is a non-cognitivist one: moral forgetting seems puzzling because moral judgements are attitudes of a sort that cannot be lost through forgetting. (shrink)
The default view in the epistemology of forgetting is that human memory would be epistemically better if we were not so susceptible to forgetting—that forgetting is in general a cognitive vice. In this paper, I argue for the opposed view: normal human forgetting—the pattern of forgetting characteristic of cognitively normal adult human beings—approximates a virtue located at the mean between the opposed cognitive vices of forgetting too much and remembering too much. I argue, first, (...) that, for any finite cognizer, a certain pattern of forgetting is necessary if her memory is to perform its function well. I argue, second, that, by eliminating clutter from her memory store, this pattern of forgetting improves the overall shape of the subject’s total doxastic state. I conclude by reviewing work in psychology which suggests that normal human forgetting approximates this virtuous pattern of forgetting. (shrink)
"Forgetting" plays an important role in the lives of individuals and communities. Although a few Holocaust scholars have begun to take forgetting more seriously in relation to the task of remembering—in popular parlance as well as in academic discourse on the Holocaust—forgetting is usually perceived as a negative force. In the decades following 1945, the terms remembering and forgetting have often been used antithetically, with the communities of victims insisting on the duty to remember and a (...) society of perpetrators desiring to forget. Thus, the discourse on Holocaust memory has become entrenched on this issue. This essay counters the swift rejection of forgetting and its labeling as a reprehensible act. It calls attention to two issues: first, it offers a critical argument for different forms of forgetting; second, it concludes with suggestions of how deliberate performative practices of forgetting might benefit communities affected by a genocidal past. Is it possible to conceive of forgetting not as the ugly twin of remembering but as its necessary companion? (shrink)
We have a striking ability to alter our psychological access to past experiences. Consider the following case. Andrew “Nicky” Barr, OBE, MC, DFC, (1915 – 2006) was one of Australia’s most decorated World War II fighter pilots. He was the top ace of the Western Desert’s 3 Squadron, the pre-eminent fighter squadron in the Middle East, flying P-40 Kittyhawks over Africa. From October 1941, when Nicky Barr’s war began, he flew 22 missions and shot down eight enemy planes in his (...) first 35 operational hours. He was shot down three times, once 25 miles behind enemy lines while trying to rescue a downed pilot. He escaped from prisoner of war camps four times, once jumping out of a train as it travelled from Italy into Austria. His wife Dot, who he married only weeks before the war, waited for him at home. She was told on at least three occasions that he was missing in action or dead. For 50 years, Nicky Barr never spoke publicly, and rarely privately, of his war-time experiences. He was very much a forgotten and forgetting hero (for further details, see Dornan, 2002). In his first public interview in 2002 on the Australian documentary program “Australian Story”, Nicky explained his 50 year silence by saying. (shrink)
We explore the nature of forgetting in a corpus of 125,000 students learning Spanish using the Rosetta Stone® foreign-language instruction software across 48 lessons. Students are tested on a lesson after its initial study and are then retested after a variable time lag. We observe forgetting consistent with power function decay at a rate that varies across lessons but not across students. We find that lessons which are better learned initially are forgotten more slowly, a correlation which likely (...) reflects a latent cause such as the quality or difficulty of the lesson. We obtain improved predictive accuracy of the forgetting model by augmenting it with features that encode characteristics of a student's initial study of the lesson and the activities the student engaged in between the initial and delayed tests. The augmented model can predict 23.9% of the variance in an individual's score on the delayed test. We analyze which features best explain individual performance. (shrink)
In this paper, we focus on whether and to what extent we judge that people are responsible for the consequences of their forgetfulness. We ran a series of behavioral studies to measure judgments of responsibility for the consequences of forgetfulness. Our results show that we are disposed to hold others responsible for some of their forgetfulness. The level of stress that the forgetful agent is under modulates judgments of responsibility, though the level of care that the agent exhibits toward performing (...) the forgotten action does not. We argue that this result has important implications for a long-running debate about the nature of responsible agency. (shrink)
Lewis signaling games illustrate how language might evolve from random behavior. The probability of evolving an optimal signaling language is, in part, a function of what learning strategy the agents use. Here we investigate three learning strategies, each of which allows agents to forget old experience. In each case, we find that forgetting increases the probability of evolving an optimal language. It does this by making it less likely that past partial success will continue to reinforce suboptimal practice. The (...) learning strategies considered here show how forgetting past experience can promote learning in the context of games with suboptimal equilibria. (shrink)
Using examples ranging from classical rhetoric to contemporary crises like 9/11, Public Forgetting demonstrates how communities may adopt idioms of forgetting in order to create new and beneficial standards of public judgment.
This essay seeks to add to a growing body of literature in philosophy of education that focuses on issues of historical consciousness and remembrance and their connections to moral education. In particular, I wish to explore the following questions: What does it mean to maintain a tension between remembering and forgetting tragic historical events? And what does an ethical stance that seeks to maintain this tension provide us? In what follows, I first describe two contemporary approaches to cultivating historical (...) consciousness and advocate for the need to integrate the insights from both these strands rather than choosing between them. Based on some of the insights of Nietzsche, Arendt and other thinkers, I then explore the notion of forgetting while highlighting its educational and moral significance. In order to further explore the moral significance of forgetting, I highlight some of the similarities and differences between forgetting and the virtue of forgiving. Next, I consider the case of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa as a contemporary example of an attempt to strike a balance between remembering and forgetting. I conclude this essay by briefly outlining some of the advantages of an ethic of remembering and forgetting. (shrink)
Jacques Derrida é conhecido por suas tentativas a incluir a perspectiva da mulher no seu trabalho filosófico. Seus esforços receberam o elogio de filósofas, apesar do fato de sua filosofia permanecer marcada pela omissão de qualquer menção ao trabalho de Simone de Beauvoir. O assunto deste artigo não será a mulher, como na conferência de 1972 Esporas, mas o falogocentrismo. Ou seja, a economia, dinâmica e os limites deste conceito enquanto crítica da história, isto é, a história da mentira, termo (...) pelo qual Derrida parece conceber da possibilidade de qualquer história. Concorda-se que o falogocentrismo, nos cuidados de Derrida, proporcionou as saídas antifilosóficas pelas quais incluir a mulher como singularidade na filosofia francesa dos anos de 1970 dominada por homens. No entanto, defenderemos que o espectro do homem foi mantido intato por Derrida no seu trabalho, o que sugere que a desconstrução tem ignorado aquilo que poderia bem ser a proibição primária no pensamento ocidental. (shrink)
This paper provides a novel argument for granting memory the status of a generative source of justification and knowledge. Memory can produce justified output beliefs and knowledge on the basis of unjustified input beliefs alone. The key to understanding how memory can generate justification and knowledge, memory generativism, is to bear in mind that memory frequently omits part of the stored information. The proposed argument depends on a broadly reliabilist approach to justification.
This article sets forth a view about how epistemic justification figures in the ongoing justification of memory belief, a view that I call moderate justificational preservationism . MJP presupposes a nontraditional notion of memorial justification according to which what makes one's present belief that p prima facie justified is that which provided one with prima facie justification to believe that p originally . The article offers support for MJP by examining a series of cases that involve forgetting, and in (...) doing so, criticizes views of Jennifer Lackey, David Owens, Michael Huemer, and George Pappas. (shrink)
Alienation theory has acted as the stimulus for a great deal of research and writing in the history of sociology. It has formed the basis of many sociological ‘classics’ focused on the workplace and the experiences of workers, and has also been mobilized to chart wider social malaise and individual troubles. Alienation theory usage has, however, declined significantly since its heyday of the 1960s and 1970s. Here, the reasons why alienation theory was ‘forgotten’ and what can be gained by ‘remembering’ (...) alienation theory are explored. To realize this ambition this article proceeds by (1) briefly visiting differing definitions of alienation theory, before charting its high point, and the various debates and tensions of the time, during the 1960s and 1970s; (2) analysing the reasons why alienation theory fell from grace from the 1980s onwards; (3) elaborating how and why alienation theory is still relevant for sociology and the wider social sciences today. (shrink)