Memory

Edited by John Sutton (Macquarie University)
Assistant editor: Sadegh Balal Niaki (University of Western Ontario)
About this topic
Summary

Remembering takes many distinctive forms. Philosophers have primarily discussed the form of memory in which I remember episodes and experiences in my own past. Such ‘personal’ (or ‘experiential’ or ‘episodic’) memories seem to represent the past events to which they refer, and to depend on certain kinds of causal connections between past and present. In ‘factual’ or ‘semantic’ memory, in contrast, I need not have personally experienced what I now remember. ‘Declarative’ memory of both these forms aims at truth, but can go wrong in minor or dramatic ways. We also remember both to do certain things (‘prospective’ memory), and how to do certain things (‘procedural’ memory). Philosophers discuss the nature, functions, and mechanisms of memory; its relations to perception, imagination, dreams, emotions, and knowledge; and its connections with personal identity, responsibility, and our moral and social lives. Memory is an active topic of interdisciplinary research between philosophy, cognitive science, and the social sciences.

Key works Theories of memory in the premodern history of philosophy are discussed by Draaisma 2000, Krell 1990, and Sutton 1998. Rich and wide-ranging theoretical treatments include Campbell 2003, Hacking 1995, and Middleton & Brown 2005. The causal theory of memory is developed in Martin & Deutscher 1966, while important work on personal or autobiographical memory includes Campbell 1997, Hoerl 1999, and Goldie 2012. CASEY 1987 offers a phenomenological treatment of memory, while Stern 1991 develops a Wittgensteinian approach. Sheets-Johnstone 2003 discusses kinesthetic or bodily memory. Ideas about social aspects of memory are developed by Wegner et al 1985.
Introductions Warnock 1987 is a fine, wide-ranging first read on the philosophy of memory, while Engel 1999 and Schacter 1996 offer provocative introductions to the psychology of memory. Sutton 2009 surveys a range of ideas about situated and social memory, while Boyer & Wertsch 2009 is a good collection of interdisciplinary essays.
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  1. Modes of Self-Awareness: Perception, Dreams, Memory.Saulius Geniusas - forthcoming - Husserl Studies:1-20.
    I contend that the well-established phenomenological distinction between reflective and pre-reflective self-awareness needs to be further supplemented with more refined distinctions between different modes of pre-reflective self-awareness. Here I distinguish between five modes, which we come across in perception, lucid dreams, non-lucid dreams, daydreams, and episodic memory. Building on the basis of a phenomenological description, I argue that perception entails the pre-reflective self-awareness of the perceiving ego; non-lucid dreams implicate the pre-reflective self-awareness of the dreamed ego; in the case of (...)
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  2. Will archivists use AI to enhance or to dumb down our societal memory?Titia van der Werf & Bram van der Werf - forthcoming - AI and Society:1-4.
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  3. Remembrance and Denial of Genocide: On the Interrelations of Testimonial and Hermeneutical Injustice.Melanie Altanian - 2021 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 29 (4):595-612.
    Genocide remembrance is a complex epistemological/ethical achievement, whereby survivors and descendants give meaning to the past in the quest for both personal-historical and social-historical truth. This paper offers an argument of epistemic injustice specifically as it occurs in relation to practices of (individual and collective) genocide remembrance. In particular, I argue that under conditions of genocide denialism, understood as collective genocide misremembrance and memory distortion, genocide survivors and descendants are confronted with hermeneutical oppression. Drawing on Sue Campbell’s relational, reconstructive account (...)
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  4. Memory as Skill.Seth Goldwasser - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-24.
    The temporal structure for motivating, monitoring, and making sense of agency depends on encoding, maintaining, and accessing the right contents at the right times. These functions are facilitated by memory. Moreover, in informing action, memory is itself often active. That remembering is essential to and an expression of agency and is often active suggests that it is a type of action. Despite this, Galen Strawson and Alfred Mele deny that remembering is an action. They claim that memory fails to admit (...)
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  5. Russell on Memory.Saja Mohammad Parvizian - manuscript
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  6. Preservative Memory and Mental Anaphora.Saja Mohammad Parvizian - manuscript
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  7. Attention for Action in Visual Working Memory.Christian N. L. Olivers & Pieter R. Roelfsema - 2020 - Cortex 131:179-194.
    From the conception of Baddeley’s visuospatial sketchpad, visual working memory and visual attention have been closely linked concepts. An attractive model has advocated unity of the two cognitive functions, with attention serving the active maintenance of sensory representations. However, empirical evidence from various paradigms and dependent measures has now firmly established an at least partial dissociation between visual attention and visual working memory maintenance e thus leaving unclear what the relationship between the two concepts is. Moreover, a focus on sensory (...)
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  8. In Memory of Volodymyr Morenets.Nataliia Peleshenko - 2021 - Kyiv-Mohyla Humanities Journal 8:216-219.
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  9. In Memory of Paul Farber (1944–2021), Third Editor of the Journal of the History of Biology.Jane Maienschein, Garland E. Allen, Michael Dietrich, Everett Mendelsohn, Marsha Richmond & Karen Rader - forthcoming - Journal of the History of Biology:1-2.
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  10. Some Hitherto Unknown Fragments of Utpaladeva’s Vivṛti (III): On Memory and Error.Isabelle Ratié - unknown
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  11. Evans on Intellectual Attention and Memory Demonstratives.Mark Fortney - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Intellectual attention, like perceptual attention, is a special mode of mental engagement with the world. When we attend intellectually, rather than making use of sensory information we make use of the kind of information that shows up in occurent thought, memory, and the imagination (Chun, Golomb, & Turk-Browne, 2011). In this paper, I argue that reflecting on what it is like to comprehend memory demonstratives speaks in favour of the view that intellectual attention is required to understand memory demonstratives. Moreover, (...)
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  12. Entre la Historia y la Memoria: Un Estudio a Través Del Tiempo de la Comunidad Kolla de Finca SantiagoBetween History and Memory: A Study During Time of the Finca Santiago Kolla Community.Marina Weinberg - 2019 - Corpus.
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  13. De Madre a Hija: Juegos de Hilo y Memoria(s) Del Paisaje mapucheFrom Mother to Daughter: String Figures and Memory(Ies) of the Mapuche Landscape.Ana Guevara - 2011 - Corpus.
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  14. “La Matanza” Memoria y Poética de la Transmisión1“The Slaughter” Memory and the Poetics of Transmission.Carlos Masotta - 2012 - Corpus.
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  15. Espacios y Tiempos Mediados Por la Memoria. La Toponimia En El Oeste de La Pampa En El Siglo XXSpace and Time Mediated by Memory. Toponymy in Western La Pampa in the Twentieth Century.María Eugenia Comerci - 2012 - Corpus.
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  16. Memoria Visual En El Perú: Las Fotografías Del Caso UchuraccayVisual Memory in Perú: Photographs of the Case Uchuraccay.Lizbeth Arenas Fernández - 2012 - Corpus.
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  17. Muerte, Ritualización y Memoria. Imágenes Sobre la (Re)Memoración de Los Angelitos. Corrientes. ArgentinaDeath, Ritualization and Memory. Images on the (Re)Membrance of the Angelito. Corrientes, Argentina. [REVIEW]Cesar I. Bondar - 2012 - Corpus.
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  18. Historia, Etnicidad y Memoria: El Proceso de Conformación de la Identidad Indígena En la Tribu Amiga de Los Toldos (Provincia de Buenos Aires)History, Ethnicity and Memory: The Making of Indigenous Identity in the Tribe of Los Toldos.Ingrid de Jong - 2014 - Corpus.
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  19. The Influence of the Renaissance’s Art of Memory on Descartes’ Philosophy.Gintautas Mažeikis - 1998 - Problemos 52.
    The Renaissance’s sources of Descartes’ method are discussed in this article. Main attention is paid to the cabbalistic principles of Ramon Lull’s "Short Art" and Brunian and Ramist art of memory. Descartes knew Lull’s art to which he reffered to in very derogatory terms. The same logical, Pythagorean, and cabbalistic principles of Lullism, however, became the basis for the art of memory of the Renaissance and for the natural magic of the Renaissance, which Descartes knew. The occult art of memory (...)
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  20. Memory and Perspective.C. J. McCarroll & John Sutton - 2017 - In Sven Bernecker & Kourken Michaelian (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. pp. pp. 113–126.
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  21. Malcolm on Memory.H. O. Mounce - 2021 - Wiley: Philosophical Investigations 45 (1):53-57.
    Philosophical Investigations, Volume 45, Issue 1, Page 53-57, January 2022.
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  22. The Identity of the Self Over Time is Normative.David L. Thompson - manuscript
    The temporal unity of the self cannot be accounted for by the continuity of causal, factual, or contiguous relations between independently definable mental events, as proposed by Locke and Parfit. The identity of the self over time is normative: it depends on the institutional context of social rules external to the self that determine the relationship between past commitments and current responsibilities. (2005).
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  23. A Defense of Inner Awareness: The Memory Argument Revisited.Anna Giustina - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology.
    The psychological reality of an inner awareness built into conscious experience has traditionally been a central element of philosophy of consciousness, from Aristotle, to Descartes, Brentano, the phenomenological tradition, and early and contemporary analytic philosophy. Its existence, however, has recently been called into question, especially by defenders of so-called transparency of experience and first-order representationalists about phenomenal consciousness. In this paper, I put forward a defense of inner awareness based on an argument from memory. Roughly, the idea is that since (...)
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  24. Interactive Wittgenstein: Essays in Memory of Georg Henrik von Wright.Enzo De Pellegrin (ed.) - 2009 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    A collection of original essays by leading experts offering insights into the forces that shaped and influenced Wittgenstein's thought on a variety of topics. Also contains the text--in both the original German and an English translation by Juliet Floyd and Burton Dreben--of letters and cards sent to Wittgenstein by the philosopher and logician Gottlob Frege, which shed light on their interaction during the crucial period when Wittgenstein completed work on the Tractatus. Other essays document and discuss Wittgenstien's thinking on music (...)
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  25. Evans on Intellectual Attention and Memory Demonstratives.Mark Fortney - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Intellectual attention, like perceptual attention, is a special mode of mental engagement with the world. When we attend intellectually, rather than making use of sensory information we make use of the kind of information that shows up in occurent thought, memory, and the imagination (Chun, Golomb, & Turk-Browne, 2011). In this paper, I argue that reflecting on what it is like to comprehend memory demonstratives speaks in favour of the view that intellectual attention is required to understand memory demonstratives. Moreover, (...)
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  26. Memory as Sensory Modality, Perception as Experience of the Past.Michael Barkasi - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-19.
    Perceptual experience strikes us as a presentation of the here and now. I argue that it also involves experience of the past. This claim is often made based on cases, like seeing stars, involving significant signal-transmission lag, or based on how working memory allows us to experience extended events. I argue that the past is injected into perceptual experience via a third way: long-term memory traces in sensory circuits. Memory, like the receptor-based senses, is an integrated and constituent modality through (...)
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  27. Félix Guattari and the Highways of Memory.Joseph R. Johnson - 2021 - Angelaki 26 (6):128-143.
    One of the last major works of “French Theory,” Félix Guattari’s notoriously dense 1989 Schizoanalytic Cartographies has only recently been made available to English-speaking audiences by Andr...
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  28. To Remember, or Not to Remember? Potential Impact of Memory Modification on Narrative Identity, Personal Agency, Mental Health, and Well-Being.Przemysław Zawadzki - 2021 - Bioethics 35 (9):891-899.
    Memory modification technologies (MMTs)—interventions within the memory affecting its functions and contents in specific ways—raise great therapeutic hopes but also great fears. Ethicists have expressed concerns that developing and using MMTs may endanger the very fabric of who we are—our personal identity. This threat has been mainly considered in relation to two interrelated concerns: truthfulness and narrative self‐constitution. In this article, we propose that although this perspective brings up important matters concerning the potential aftermaths of MMT utilization, it fails to (...)
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  29. A Hybrid Theory of Event Memory.David H. Ménager, Dongkyu Choi & Sarah K. Robins - forthcoming - Minds and Machines:1-30.
    Amongst philosophers, there is ongoing debate about what successful event remembering requires. Causal theorists argue that it requires a causal connection to the past event. Simulation theorists argue, in contrast, that successful remembering requires only production by a reliable memory system. Both views must contend with the fact that people can remember past events they have experienced with varying degrees of accuracy. The debate between them thus concerns not only the account of successful remembering, but how each account explains the (...)
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  30. Episodic Memory: And What is It For?B. Mahr, Johannes - forthcoming - In Christopher McCarroll, Kourken Michaelian & André Sant'Anna (eds.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Memory. Routledge.
    The question of what the function of human remembering might be has entered the contemporary philosophical discourse only relatively recently. In this debate, two main views have emerged: preservatism and simulationism. According to preservatism, the function of remembering is to preserve information from/about the past. In contrast, simulationism holds that the function of remembering is to enable reliable thought about the future. Here, I employ form to function reasoning to evaluate both of these views. I argue that both perservatism and (...)
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  31. Current Controversies in Philosophy of Memory.Andre Sant'Anna, Christopher McCarroll & Kourken Michaelian (eds.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  32. Editors' Introduction to Tasks, Tools, and Techniques.Wayne D. Gray, François Osiurak & Richard Heersmink - 2021 - Topics in Cognitive Science 13 (4):1-8.
    Tasks, tools, and techniques that we perform, use, and acquire, define the elements of expertise which we value as the hallmarks of goal-driven behavior. Somehow, the creation of tools enables us to define new tasks, or is it that the envisioning of new tasks drives us to invent new tools? Or maybe it is that new tools engender new techniques which then result in new tasks? This jumble of issues will be explored and discussed in this diverse collection of papers. (...)
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  33. Before the Specters: The Memory of a Promise (From the Archives).Thomas Clément Mercier - 2020 - Contexto Internacional 42 (1):125-148.
    This text was prompted by a forum discussing the legacy of Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx, twenty-five years after its publication. In this short essay, I explore the book’s influence on the fields of Marxism, post-Marxism, and beyond. With the problematic of heritage and legacy in mind, I raise the questions of sexual difference and dissemination as that which comes to interrupt the genealogical logic of inheritance understood as filiation and reproduction. I show that Derrida’s book, besides questioning reception and (...)
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  34. Without Mandate: James Bernauer From the Ethics of Thought to Historical Memory.Joseph Tanke - 2021 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 47 (8):879-893.
    This special issue of Philosophy and Social Criticism is dedicated to James Bernauer, S.J. on the occasion of his retirement from full-time teaching. It contains original essays from Bernauer’s stu...
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  35. Memory and Perception, Insights at the Interface: Editors’ Introduction.Christopher McCarroll, Kourken Michaelian & Santiago Alejandro Arango Muñoz - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía 64:5-19.
    The recent development of specialized research fields in philosophy of memory and philosophy of perception invites a dialogue about the relationship between these mental capacities. Following a brief review of some of the key issues that can be raised at the interface of memory and perception, this introduction provides an overview of the contributions to the special issue, and outlines possible directions for further research.
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  36. Practising Piety in a (Post-) Pandemic Time: A Spatial Reading of Piety in Psalm 66 From the Perspectives of Memory and Bodily Imagery.Lodewyk Sutton - 2021 - HTS Theological Studies 77 (4):1-9.
    Situated in the larger collection of Psalms 51-72, also known as the second Davidic Psalter, the smaller group of Psalms 65-68 is found. This smaller collection of psalms can be classified mostly as psalms of praise and thanksgiving. The relation and compositional work in this cluster of psalms become apparent on many points in the pious expressions between groups and persons at prayer, especially in the universal praise of God, and in the imagery referring to the exodus, the Jerusalem cult (...)
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  37. Mnemonic Causation, Construction, and the Particularity of Episodic Memory.André Sant’Anna - 2021 - Aufklärung 8.
    The idea that episodic memory is memory of particulars is prominent in philosophy. The particularity of remembering, as I will call it, has been taken for granted in most recent theorizing on the subject. This is because the classical causal theory of memory, which has been extremely influential in philosophy, is said to provide a straightforward account of particularity. But the causal theory has been criticized recently, in particular due to its inability to make sense of the constructive character of (...)
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  38. The Past is the Past : Linear Temporality, Memory, and Empire.Tom Pettinger - forthcoming - .
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  39. Merleau-Ponty and a Phenomenology of PTSD: Hidden Ghosts of Traumatic Memory by MaryCatherine McDonald.Patrick Seniuk - 2021 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 14 (2):187-191.
    An unintended consequence of the coronavirus pandemic has been renewed interest in trauma research. In Merleau-Ponty and a Phenomenology of PTSD: Hidden Ghosts of Traumatic Memory, MaryCatherine McDonald argues that the prevailing trauma research model is “episodic,” meaning that trauma research spikes in the aftermath of significant events. The problem with this model, McDonald contends, is that once the particular event or circumstance loses its everyday salience, also lost is interest in trauma research. Arguably, then, our understanding of trauma is (...)
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  40. Linking Creativity and False Memory: Common Consequences of a Flexible Memory System.Preston P. Thakral, Aleea L. Devitt, Nadia M. Brashier & Daniel L. Schacter - 2021 - Cognition 217:104905.
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  41. Conjuring Caliban's Woman: Moving Beyond Cinema's Memory of Man in Praise House.Ayanna Dozier - forthcoming - Hypatia:1-16.
    Julie Dash's experimental short film, Praise House, situates conjuring as both a narrative and formal device to invent new memories around Black womanhood that exceed our representation within the epistemes of Man. I view Praise House as an example of conjure-cinema with which we can evaluate how Black feminist filmmakers, primarily working in experimental film, manipulate the poetic structure and aesthetics of film to affect audiences rather than rely on representational narrative alone. Following the scholarship of Sylvia Wynter, I use (...)
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  42. Reading Mark’s Gospel as a Text From Collective Memory.[author unknown] - 2020
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  43. The Pre-Reflective Roots of the Madeleine-Memory: A Phenomenological Perspective.Francesca Righetti - 2021 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-21.
    This paper investigates the madeleine-memory as a case of pre-reflective experience, from the genesis of its sedimentation into the body. Indeed, I aim to address the question of the literary protagonist Marcel on the roots of his happiness and the genesis of his memories. Until now, the madeleine-memory has been described as bodily and involuntary. In phenomenology, a wide literature has confirmed the relationship between the sense of body ownership and pre-reflective self-awareness. I aim to build upon such a mutual (...)
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  44. From authenticism to alethism: Against McCarroll on observer memory.Kourken Michaelian & André Sant’Anna - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-22.
    In opposition to the natural view that observer perspective memory is bound to be inauthentic, McCarroll argues for the surprising conclusion that memories in which the subject sees himself in the remembered scene are, in many cases, true to the subject’s original experience of the scene. By means of a careful reconstruction of his argument, this paper shows that McCarroll does not succeed in establishing his conclusion. It shows, in fact, that we ought to come to the opposed conclusion that, (...)
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  45. The Liberalism of Fear in China: Hu Ping and the Uses of Fear and Memory in Contemporary Chinese Liberalism.Simon Sihang Luo - 2021 - Global Intellectual History:1-20.
    Contemporary political theorists have sought to invoke Judith N. Shklar's liberalism of fear in discussions about human rights across cultural and national boundaries. These discussions would benefit from thinking with Chinese liberal thinker and activist Hu Ping, who considered the liberalism of fear an accurate description of the rediscovery of liberalism in contemporary China after the post-Cultural Revolution. Hu's different uses of memories of the Cultural Revolution not only reflected Shklar's thesis in the liberalism of fear that liberals should speak (...)
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  46. Memory Disjunctivism: a Causal Theory.Alex Moran - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-21.
    Relationalists about episodic memory must endorse a disjunctivist theory of memory-experience according to which cases of genuine memory and cases of total confabulation involve distinct kinds of mental event with different natures. This paper is concerned with a pair of arguments against this view, which are analogues of the ‘causal argument’ and the ‘screening off argument’ that have been pressed in recent literature against relationalist theories of perception. The central claim to be advanced is that to deal with these two (...)
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  47. Constructing the Past: the Relevance of the Narrative Self in Modulating Episodic Memory.Roy Dings & Albert Newen - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-26.
    Episodic memories can no longer be seen as the re-activation of stored experiences but are the product of an intense construction process based on a memory trace. Episodic recall is a result of a process of scenario construction. If one accepts this generative framework of episodic memory, there is still a be big gap in understanding the role of the narrative self in shaping scenario construction. Some philosophers are in principle sceptic by claiming that a narrative self cannot be more (...)
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  48. La Etica de la Memoria: Una Perspectiva Kantiana (The Ethics of Memory: A Kantian Perspective).Paula Satne - 2021 - In José Luis Villacañas, Nuria Sánchez Madrid & Julia Muñoz (eds.), El ethos del republicanismo cosmopolita: perspectivas euroamericanas sobre Kant. Berlin, Germany: pp. 169-192.
    In this article, I address the issue of whether we have an obligation to remember past immoral actions. My central question is: do we have an obligation to remember past moral transgressions? I address this central question through three more specific questions. In the first section, I enquiry whether we have an obligation to remember our own past transgressions. In the second section, I ask whether we have an obligation to remember the wrongful actions that others have committed against ourselves. (...)
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  49. Sacri Canones Editandi: Studies on Medieval Canon Law in Memory of Jirí Kejr (Ius Canonicum Medii Aevi, Vol. 1) Edited by Pavel Otmar Krafl. Pp. 266, Brno, Reprocentrum, 2017, Npg. [REVIEW]Norman Tanner - 2021 - Heythrop Journal 62 (4):781-782.
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  50. Rational Structures in Learning and Memory.Sarah Aronowitz - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    My dissertation aims to disrupt an increasingly ubiquitous view of epistemology which claim that we can study rationality by considering a single belief at a single time. I target three areas where diachronic factors make a difference in the three sections: 1. memory, a system of tremendous importance in our cognitive lives yet which is often reduced to a one-sided question of whether to trust what one’s memory says, 2. learning, where I argue that we should sometimes believe in a (...)
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