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Memory: A Self-Referential Account

New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press (2019)

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  1. Special Attention to the Self: A Mechanistic Model of Patient RB’s Lost Feeling of Ownership.Hunter Gentry - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-29.
    Patient RB has a peculiar memory impairment wherein he experiences his memories in rich contextual detail, but claims to not own them. His memories do not feel as if they happened to him. In this paper, I provide an explanatory model of RB's phenomenology, the self-attentional model. I draw upon recent work in neuroscience on self-attentional processing and global workspace models of conscious recollection to show that RB has a self-attentional deficit that inhibits self-bias processes in broadcasting the contents of (...)
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  • Feeling the Past: Beyond Causal Content.Gerardo Viera - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 64:173-188.
    Memories often come with a feeling of pastness. The events we remember strike us as having occurred in our past. What accounts for this feeling of pastness? In his recent book, Memory: A self-referential account, Jordi Fernández argues that the feeling of pastness cannot be grounded in an explicit representation of the pastness of the remembered event. Instead, he argues that the feeling of pastness is grounded in the self-referential causal content of memory. In this paper, I argue that this (...)
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  • The Sense of Mineness in Personal Memory: Problems for the Endorsement Model.Marina Trakas - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 64:155-172.
    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 (...)
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  • Unsuccessful Remembering: A Challenge for the Relational View of Memory.André Sant’Anna - 2020 - Erkenntnis 87 (4):1539-1562.
    This paper explores the relationship between a prominent version of the relational view of memory and recent work on forms of unsuccessful remembering or memory errors. I argue that unsuccessful remembering poses an important challenge for the relational view. Unsuccessful remembering can be divided into two kinds: misremembering and confabulating. I discuss each of these cases in light of a recent relational account, according to which remembering is characterized by an experiential relation to past events, and I argue that experiential (...)
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  • Attitudes and the (Dis)Continuity Between Memory and Imagination.André Sant'Anna - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 64:73-93.
    The current dispute between causalists and simulationists in philosophy of memory has led to opposing attempts to characterize the relationship between memory and imagination. In a recent overview of this debate, Perrin and Michaelian have suggested that the dispute over the continuity between memory and imagination boils down to the question of whether a causal connection to a past event is necessary for remembering. By developing an argument based on an analogy to perception, I argue that this dispute should instead (...)
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  • What Makes a Mental State Feel Like a Memory: Feelings of Pastness and Presence.Melanie Rosen & Michael Barkasi - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 64:95-122.
    The intuitive view that memories are characterized by a feeling of pastness, perceptions by a feeling of presence, while imagination lacks either faces challenges from two sides. Some researchers complain that the “feeling of pastness” is either unclear, irrelevant or isn’t a real feature. Others point out that there are cases of memory without the feeling of pastness, perception without presence, and other cross-cutting cases. Here we argue that the feeling of pastness is indeed a real, useful feature, and although (...)
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  • The Failures of Functionalism.Sarah Robins - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 64:201-222.
    In Memory: A Self-Referential Account, Fernández offers a functionalist account of the metaphysics of memory, which is portrayed as presenting significant advantages over causal and narrative theories of memory. In this paper, I present a series of challenges for Fernández’s functionalism. There are issues with both the particulars of the account and the use of functionalism more generally. First, in characterizing the mnemonic role of episodic remembering, Fernández fails to make clear how the mental image type that plays this role (...)
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  • The Phenomenology of Remembering Is an Epistemic Feeling.Denis Perrin, Kourken Michaelian & André Sant’Anna - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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  • Episodic memory and the feeling of pastness: from intentionalism to metacognition.Denis Perrin & André Sant’Anna - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-26.
    In recent years, there has been an increasing interest among philosophers of memory in the questions of how to characterize and to account for the temporal phenomenology of episodic memory. One prominent suggestion has been that episodic memory involves a feeling of pastness, the elaboration of which has given rise to two main approaches. On the intentionalist approach, the feeling of pastness is explained in terms of what episodic memory represents. In particular, Fernández has argued that it can be explained (...)
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  • What is so Special About Episodic Memory: Lessons From the System-Experience Distinction.Shen Pan - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-26.
    Compared to other forms of memory, episodic memory is commonly viewed as special for being distinctively metarepresentational and, relatedly, uniquely human. There is an inherent ambiguity in these conceptions, however, because “episodic memory” has two closely connected yet subtly distinct uses, one designating the recollective experience and the other designating the underlying neurocognitive system. Since experience and system sit at different levels of theorizing, their disentanglement is not only necessary but also fruitful for generating novel theoretical hypotheses. To show this, (...)
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  • Boundary Extension as Mental Imagery.Bence Nanay - 2022 - Analysis 81 (4):647-656.
    When we remember a scene, the scene’s boundaries are wider than the boundaries of the scene we saw. This phenomenon is called boundary extension. The most important philosophical question about boundary extension is whether it is a form of perceptual adjustment or adjustment during memory encoding. The aim of this paper is to propose a third explanatory scheme, according to which the extended boundary of the original scene is represented by means of mental imagery. And given the similarities between perception (...)
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  • Remembering the Past and Imagining the Actual.Daniel Munro - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (2).
    Recently, a view I refer to as “hypothetical continuism” has garnered some favour among philosophers, based largely on empirical research showing substantial neurocognitive overlaps between episodic memory and imagination. According to this view, episodically remembering past events is the same kind of cognitive process as sensorily imagining future and counterfactual events. In this paper, I first argue that hypothetical continuism is false, on the basis of substantive epistemic asymmetries between episodic memory and the relevant kinds of imagination. However, I then (...)
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  • Imagining the Past Reliably and Unreliably: Towards a Virtue Theory of Memory.Kourken Michaelian - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7477-7507.
    Philosophers of memory have approached the relationship between memory and imagination from two very different perspectives. Advocates of the causal theory of memory, on the one hand, have motivated their preferred theory by appealing to the intuitive contrast between successfully remembering an event and merely imagining it. Advocates of the simulation theory, on the other hand, have motivated their preferred theory by appealing to empirical evidence for important similarities between remembering the past and imagining the future. Recently, causalists have argued (...)
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  • Episodic Memory is Not Immune to Error Through Misidentification: Against Fernández.Kourken Michaelian - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9525-9543.
    The claim that episodic memory is immune to error through misidentification enjoys continuing popularity in philosophy. Psychological research on observer memory—usually defined as occurring when one remembers an event from a point of view other than that that from which he originally experienced it—would seem, on the face of it, to undermine the IEM claim. Relying on a certain view of memory content, Fernández, however, has provided an ingenious argument for the view that it does not. This paper reconstructs Fernández’ (...)
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  • Memory and Perception, Insights at the Interface: Editors’ Introduction.Christopher McCarroll, Kourken Michaelian & Santiago Arango Muñoz - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 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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  • Construction, Preservation, and the Presence of Self in Observer Memory.Christopher Jude McCarroll - 2020 - Análisis Filosófico 40 (2).
    Observer memories involve a representation of the self in the memory image, which is presented from a detached or external point of view. That such an image is an obvious departure from how one initially experienced the event seems relatively straightforward. However, in my book on this type of imagery, I suggested that such memories can in fact, at least in some cases, accurately represent one’s past experience of an event. During these past events there is a sense in which (...)
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  • The Variety and Limits of Self-Experience and Identification in Imagination.Ying-Tung Lin & Vilius Dranseika - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9897-9926.
    Imagination and other forms of mental simulation allow us to live beyond the current immediate environment. Imagination that involves an experience of self further enables one to incorporate or utilize the contents of episodic simulation in a way that is of importance to oneself. However, the simulated self can be found in a variety of forms. The present study provides some empirical data to explore the various ways in which the self could be represented in observer-perspective imagination as well as (...)
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  • The Experience of Being Oneself in Memory: Exploring Sense of Identity via Observer Memory.Ying-Tung Lin - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):405-422.
    Every episodic memory entails a sense of identity, which allows us to mentally travel through time. There is a special way by which the subject who is remembering comes into contact with the self that is embedded in the episodic simulation of memory: we can directly and robustly experience the protagonist in memory as ourselves. This paper explores what constitutes such experience in memory. On the face of it, the issue may seem trivial: of course, we are able to entertain (...)
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  • What Sort of Imagining Might Remembering Be?Peter Langland-Hassan - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7 (2):231-251.
    This essay unites current philosophical thinking on imagination with a burgeoning debate in the philosophy of memory over whether episodic remembering is simply a kind of imagining. So far, this debate has been hampered by a lack of clarity in the notion of imagining at issue. Several options are considered and constructive imagining is identified as the relevant kind. Next, a functionalist account of episodic remembering is defended as a means to establishing two key points: first, one need not defend (...)
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  • Propping up the causal theory.Peter Langland-Hassan - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-27.
    Martin and Deutscher’s causal theory of remembering holds that a memory trace serves as a necessary causal link between any genuine episode of remembering and the event it enables one to recall. In recent years, the causal theory has come under fire from researchers across philosophy and cognitive science, who argue that results from the scientific study of memory are incompatible with the kinds of memory traces that Martin and Deutscher hold essential to remembering. Of special note, these critics observe, (...)
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  • Remembering is Not a Kind of Knowing.Changsheng Lai - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):333.
    This paper purports to disprove an orthodox view in contemporary epistemology that I call ‘the epistemic conception of memory’, which sees remembering as a kind of epistemic success, in particular, a kind of knowing. This conception is embodied in a cluster of platitudes in epistemology, including ‘remembering entails knowing’, ‘remembering is a way of knowing’, and ‘remembering is sufficiently analogous to knowing’. I will argue that this epistemic conception of memory, as a whole, should be rejected insofar as we take (...)
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  • Immunity to Error Through Misidentification and the Functionalist, Self-Reflexive Account of Episodic Memory.Steven James - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 64:189-200.
    Fernández offers an account of the nature of episodic memory that marries two core ideas: role-functionalism about episodic memory, and self-reflexive mnemonic content. One payoff of this view is that episodic memory judgments are immune to error through misidentification. Fernández takes this to reveal something important about the nature of one’s self-awareness in memory and our first-person conception of ourselves. However, once one sees why such judgments are immune in this way, according to the proposed account, the fact that they (...)
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  • A knowledge-first approach to episodic memory.Christoph Hoerl - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-27.
    This paper aims to outline, and argue for, an approach to episodic memory broadly in the spirit of knowledge-first epistemology. I discuss a group of influential views of epsiodic memory that I characterize as ‘two-factor accounts’, which have both proved popular historically and have also seen a resurgence in recent work on the philosophy of memory. What is common to them is that they try to give an account of the nature of episodic memory in which the concept of knowledge (...)
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  • Working Memory is Not a Natural Kind and Cannot Explain Central Cognition.Javier Gomez-Lavin - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (2):199-225.
    Working memory is a foundational construct of cognitive psychology, where it is thought to be a capacity that enables us to keep information in mind and to use that information to support goal directed behavior. Philosophers have recently employed working memory to explain central cognitive processes, from consciousness to reasoning. In this paper, I show that working memory cannot meet even a minimal account of natural kindhood, as the functions of maintenance and manipulation of information that tie working memory models (...)
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  • Self-Referential Memory and Mental Time Travel.Jordi Fernández - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):283-300.
    Episodic memory has a distinctive phenomenology. One way to capture what is distinctive about it is by using the notion of mental time travel: When we remember some fact episodically, we mentally travel to the moment at which we experienced it in the past. This way of distinguishing episodic memory from semantic memory calls for an explanation of what the experience of mental time travel is. In this paper, I suggest that a certain view about the content of memories can (...)
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  • Defending Functionalism and Self-Reference in Memory.Jordi Fernández - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 64:223-236.
    In recent work, Sarah Robins, Gerardo Viera and Steven James have provided some insightful objections to the ideas offered in my book, Memory: A Self-Referential Account. In this paper, I put forward some responses to those objections. Robins challenges the idea that being a memory could be a matter of having a particular functional role within the subject’s cognitive economy. Viera challenges the idea that the content of a memory could explain some of its phenomenological properties. And James challenges the (...)
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  • Fernández, J. (2019). Memory: A Self-Referential Account. Oxford University Press.Juan Fernando Álvarez Céspedes - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 64:237-243.
    Fernández’ most recent book constitutes an articulated development of several philosophical considerations on memory displayed in previous, and forthcoming publications. The result of such articulated development ends up being a consistent account that provides an innovative and thought-provoking perspective on episodic remembering. This volume not only gathers and articulates the author’s previous ideas, but also provides new reflections, and objections that encompasses four significant domains in the philosophy of memory. In the first part of the book, Fernández offers an account (...)
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  • Memory as Triage: Facing Up to the Hard Question of Memory.Nikola Andonovski - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (2):227-256.
    The Hard Question of memory is the following: how are memory representations stored and organized so as to be made available for retrieval in the appropriate circumstances and format? In this essay, I argue that philosophical theories of memory should engage with the Hard Question directly and seriously. I propose that declarative memory is a faculty performing a kind of cognitive triage: management of information for a variety of uses under significant computational constraints. In such triage, memory representations are preferentially (...)
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  • Episodic Representation: A Mental Models Account.Nikola Andonovski - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    This paper offers a modeling account of episodic representation. I argue that the episodic system constructs mental models: representations that preserve the spatiotemporal structure of represented domains. In prototypical cases, these domains are events: occurrences taken by subjects to have characteristic structures, dynamics and relatively determinate beginnings and ends. Due to their simplicity and manipulability, mental event models can be used in a variety of cognitive contexts: in remembering the personal past, but also in future-oriented and counterfactual imagination. As structural (...)
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  • Causation and Mnemonic Roles: On Fernández’s Functionalism.Nikola Andonovski - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 64:139-153.
    Debates about causation have dominated recent philosophy of memory. While causal theorists have argued that an appropriate causal connection to a past experience is necessary for remembering, their opponents have argued that this necessity condition needs to be relaxed. Recently, Jordi Fernández has attempted to provide such a relaxation. On his functionalist theory of remembering, a given state need not be caused by a past experience to qualify as a memory; it only has to realize the relevant functional role in (...)
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  • Remembering and Imagining: The Attitudinal Continuity.Peter Langland-Hassan - forthcoming - In Anja Berninger & Íngrid Vendrell Ferran (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Memory and Imagination. London: Routledge.
    Cats and dogs are the same kind of thing in being mammals, even if cats are not a kind of dog. In the same way, remembering and imagining might be the same kind of mental state, even if remembering is not a kind of imagining. This chapter explores whether episodic remembering, on the one hand, and future and counter-factual directed imagistic imagining, on the other, may be the same kind of mental state in being instances of the same cognitive attitude. (...)
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  • Causation in Memory: Necessity, Reliability and Probability.Nikola Andonovski - 2021 - Acta Scientiarum 43 (3).
    In this paper, I argue that causal theories of memory are typically committed to two independent, non-mutually entailing theses. The first thesis pertains to the necessity of appropriate causation in memory, specifying a condition token memories need to satisfy. The second pertains to the explanation of memory reliability in causal terms and it concerns memory as a type of mental state. Post-causal theories of memory can reject only the first (weak post-causalism) or both (strong post-causalism) theses. Upon this backdrop, I (...)
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  • Remembering, Imagining, and Memory Traces: Toward a Continuist Causal Theory.Peter Langland-Hassan - forthcoming - In Christopher McCarroll, Kourken Michaelian & Andre Sant'Anna (eds.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Memory. Routledge.
    The (dis)continuism debate in the philosophy and cognitive science of memory concerns whether remembering is continuous with episodic future thought and episodic counterfactual thought in being a form of constructive imagining. I argue that settling that dispute will hinge on whether the memory traces (or “engrams”) that support remembering impose arational, perception-like constraints that are too strong for remembering to constitute a kind of constructive imagining. In exploring that question, I articulate two conceptions of memory traces—the replay theory and the (...)
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  • Boundary Extension as Mental Imagery.Bence Nanay - 2021 - Analysis 81 (3):647-656.
    When we remember a scene, the scene’s boundaries are wider than the boundaries of the scene we saw. This phenomenon is called boundary extension. The most important philosophical question about boundary extension is whether it is a form of perceptual adjustment or adjustment during memory encoding. The aim of this paper is to propose a third explanatory scheme, according to which the extended boundary of the original scene is represented by means of mental imagery. And given the similarities between perception (...)
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  • The Feeling of Familiarity.Amy Kind - 2022 - Acta Scientiarum 43 (3):1-10.
    The relationship between the phenomenology of imagination and the phenomenology of memory is an interestingly complicated one. On the one hand, there seem to be important similarities between the two, and there are even occasions in which we mistake an imagining for a memory or vice versa. On the other hand, there seem to be important differences between the two, and we can typically tell them apart. This paper explores various attempts to delineate a phenomenological marker differentiating imagination and memory, (...)
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