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Is memory a natural kind?

Memory Studies 4 (2):170-189 (2011)

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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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  • Predicting the Past From Minimal Traces: Episodic Memory and its Distinction From Imagination and Preservation.Markus Werning - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):301-333.
    The paper develops an account of minimal traces devoid of representational content and exploits an analogy to a predictive processing framework of perception. As perception can be regarded as a prediction of the present on the basis of sparse sensory inputs without any representational content, episodic memory can be conceived of as a “prediction of the past” on the basis of a minimal trace, i.e., an informationally sparse, merely causal link to a previous experience. The resulting notion of episodic memory (...)
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  • Memory, Natural Kinds, and Cognitive Extension; or, Martians Don’T Remember, and Cognitive Science Is Not About Cognition.Robert D. Rupert - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (1):25-47.
    This paper evaluates the Natural-Kinds Argument for cognitive extension, which purports to show that the kinds presupposed by our best cognitive science have instances external to human organism. Various interpretations of the argument are articulated and evaluated, using the overarching categories of memory and cognition as test cases. Particular emphasis is placed on criteria for the scientific legitimacy of generic kinds, that is, kinds characterized in very broad terms rather than in terms of their fine-grained causal roles. Given the current (...)
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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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  • The Information Effect: Constructive Memory, Testimony, and Epistemic Luck.Kourken Michaelian - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2429-2456.
    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 (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Forgetting.Kourken Michaelian - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (3):399-424.
    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 (...)
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  • (Social) Metacognition and (Self-)Trust.Kourken Michaelian - 2012 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (4):481-514.
    What entitles you to rely on information received from others? What entitles you to rely on information retrieved from your own memory? Intuitively, you are entitled simply to trust yourself, while you should monitor others for signs of untrustworthiness. This article makes a case for inverting the intuitive view, arguing that metacognitive monitoring of oneself is fundamental to the reliability of memory, while monitoring of others does not play a significant role in ensuring the reliability of testimony.
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  • Metacognition and Endorsement.Kourken Michaelian - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (3):284-307.
    Real agents rely, when forming their beliefs, on imperfect informational sources (sources which deliver, even under normal conditions of operation, both accurate and inaccurate information). They therefore face the ‘endorsement problem’: how can beliefs produced by endorsing information received from imperfect sources be formed in an epistemically acceptable manner? Focussing on the case of episodic memory and drawing on empirical work on metamemory, this article argues that metacognition likely plays a crucial role in explaining how agents solve the endorsement problem.
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  • Is External Memory Memory? Biological Memory and Extended Mind.Kourken Michaelian - 2012 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (3):1154-1165.
    Clark and Chalmers claim that an external resource satisfying the following criteria counts as a memory: the agent has constant access to the resource; the information in the resource is directly available; retrieved information is automatically endorsed; information is stored as a consequence of past endorsement. Research on forgetting and metamemory shows that most of these criteria are not satisfied by biological memory, so they are inadequate. More psychologically realistic criteria generate a similar classification of standard putative external memories, but (...)
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  • Is Episodic Memory Uniquely Human? Evaluating the Episodic-Like Memory Research Program.Sarah Malanowski - 2016 - Synthese 193 (5):1433-1455.
    Recently, a research program has emerged that aims to show that animals have a memory capacity that is similar to the human episodic memory capacity. Researchers within this program argue that nonhuman animals have episodic-like memory of personally experienced past events. In this paper, I specify and evaluate the goals of this research program and the progress it has made in achieving them. I will examine some of the data that the research program has produced, as well as the operational (...)
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  • Is My Memory an Extended Notebook?Paul Loader - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (1):167-184.
    Clark and Chalmer’s conception of spatially extended memory is underpinned by an objectified conception of biological memory. To the extent that this can be identified with a ‘storage’ approach to memory, criticisms of it are well known and an alternative approach, perhaps more suited to an enactive account of cognition, might be one which focuses on remembering as a type of action. In the Otto story the objectification of memory is apparent not only in C&C’s characterization of the notebook but (...)
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  • Events, Narratives and Memory.Nazim Keven - 2016 - Synthese 193 (8).
    Whether non-human animals can have episodic memories remains the subject of extensive debate. A number of prominent memory researchers defend the view that animals do not have the same kind of episodic memory as humans do, whereas others argue that some animals have episodic-like memory—i.e., they can remember what, where and when an event happened. Defining what constitutes episodic memory has proven to be difficult. In this paper, I propose a dual systems account and provide evidence for a distinction between (...)
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  • „Ich habe mich sozusagen selbst verloren“ – Biographische Identität, autobiographisches Gedächtnis und Alzheimer-Demenz.Michael Jungert - 2018 - Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 5 (1):133-152.
    Der Artikel untersucht den Zusammenhang zwischen Erinnerung, Vergessen und personaler Identität und wendet die Ergebnisse auf den Fall der Alzheimer-Demenz an. Während in der philosophischen Debatte Gedächtnis und Erinnerung zumeist im Kontext von Theorien zur diachronen Identität als formale Kriterien für die Zuschreibung von Identität über die Zeit aufgefasst werden, steht hier das Konzept der biographischen Identität im Zentrum. Es wird argumentiert, dass sowohl explizite als auch implizite Erinnerungen und das Wechselspiel zwischen beiden auf unterschiedliche Weise an der Konstituierung und (...)
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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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  • Steps to an Ecology of Knowledge: Continuity and Change in the Genealogy of Knowledge.Axel Gelfert - 2011 - Episteme 8 (1):67-82.
    The present paper argues for a more complete integration between recent "genealogical" approaches to the problem of knowledge and evolutionary accounts of the development of human cognitive capacities and practices. A structural tension is pointed out between, on the one hand, the fact that the explicandum of genealogical stories is a specifically human trait and, on the other hand, the tacit acknowledgment, shared by all contributors to the debate, that human beings have evolved from non-human beings. Since humans differ from (...)
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  • Internalism and the Problem of Stored Beliefs.Matthew Frise - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (2):285-304.
    A belief is stored if it is in no way before the subject’s mind. The problem of stored beliefs is that of satisfactorily explaining how the stored beliefs which seem justified are indeed justified. In this paper I challenge the two main internalist attempts to solve this problem. Internalism about epistemic justification, at a minimum, states that one’s mental life alone determines what one is justified in believing. First I dispute the attempt from epistemic conservatism, which states that believing justifies (...)
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  • Forgetting Memory Skepticism.Matthew Frise & Kevin McCain - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):253-263.
    Memory skepticism denies our memory beliefs could have any notable epistemic good. One route to memory skepticism is to challenge memory’s epistemic trustworthiness, that is, its functioning in a way necessary for it to provide epistemic justification. In this paper we develop and respond to this challenge. It could threaten memory in such a way that we altogether lack doxastic attitudes. If it threatens memory in this way, then the challenge is importantly self-defeating. If it does not threaten memory in (...)
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  • The Multiplicity of Memory Enhancement: Practical and Ethical Implications of the Diverse Neural Substrates Underlying Human Memory Systems.Kieran C. R. Fox, Nicholas S. Fitz & Peter B. Reiner - 2016 - Neuroethics 10 (3):375-388.
    The neural basis of human memory is incredibly complex. We argue that the diversity of neural systems underlying various forms of memory suggests that any discussion of enhancing ‘memory’ per se is too broad, thus obfuscating the biopolitical debate about human enhancement. Memory can be differentiated into at least four major systems with largely dissociable neural substrates. We outline each system, and discuss both the practical and the ethical implications of these diverse neural substrates. In practice, distinct neural bases imply (...)
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  • Is Memory for Remembering? Recollection as a Form of Episodic Hypothetical Thinking.Felipe De Brigard - 2014 - Synthese 191 (2):1-31.
    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 (...)
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  • What is Episodic Memory If It is a Natural Kind?Sen Cheng & Markus Werning - 2016 - Synthese 193 (5):1345-1385.
    Colloquially, episodic memory is described as “the memory of personally experienced events”. Even though episodic memory has been studied in psychology and neuroscience for about six decades, there is still great uncertainty as to what episodic memory is. Here we ask how episodic memory should be characterized in order to be validated as a natural kind. We propose to conceive of episodic memory as a knowledge-like state that is identified with an experientially based mnemonic representation of an episode that allows (...)
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  • Is Episodic Memory a Natural Kind?Nikola Andonovski - 2018 - Essays in Philosophy 19 (2):178-195.
    In a recent paper, Cheng and Werning (2016) argue that the class of episodic memories constitutes a natural kind. Endorsing the homeostatic property cluster view of natural kinds, they suggest that episodic memories can be characterized by a cluster of properties unified by an underlying neural mechanism for coding sequences of events. Here, I argue that Cheng & Werning’s proposal faces some significant, and potentially insurmountable, difficulties. Two are described as most prominent. First, the proposal fails to satisfy an important (...)
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  • Memory.Kourken Michaelian & John Sutton - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Remembering is one of the most characteristic and most puzzling of human activities. Personal memory, in particular - the ability mentally to travel back into the past, as leading psychologist Endel Tulving puts it - often has intense emotional or moral significance: it is perhaps the most striking manifestation of the peculiar way human beings are embedded in time, and of our limited but genuine freedom from our present environment and our immediate needs. Memory has been significant in the history (...)
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  • Emotions as Functional Kinds: A Meta-Theoretical Approach to Constructing Scientific Theories of Emotions.Juan Raúl Loaiza Arias - 2020 - Dissertation, Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin
    In this dissertation, I address the question of how to construct scientific theories of emotions that are both conceptually sound and empirically fruitful. To do this, I offer an analysis of the main challenges scientific theories of emotions face, and I propose a meta-theoretical framework to construct scientific concepts of emotions as explications of folk emotion concepts. Part I discusses the main challenges theories of emotions in psychology and neuroscience encounter. The first states that a proper scientific theory of emotions (...)
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  • Representational Kinds.Joulia Smortchkova & Michael Murez - forthcoming - In Joulia Smortchkova, Krzysztof Dolega & Tobias Schlicht (eds.), What are Mental Representations? New York, État de New York, États-Unis:
    Many debates in philosophy focus on whether folk or scientific psychological notions pick out cognitive natural kinds. Examples include memory, emotions and concepts. A potentially interesting type of kind is: kinds of mental representations (as opposed, for example, to kinds of psychological faculties). In this chapter we outline a proposal for a theory of representational kinds in cognitive science. We argue that the explanatory role of representational kinds in scientific theories, in conjunction with a mainstream approach to explanation in cognitive (...)
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  • Are There Any Situated Cognition Concepts of Memory Functioning as Investigative Kinds in the Sciences of Memory?Ruth Hibbert - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Kent
    This thesis will address the question of whether there are any situated cognition concepts of memory functioning as investigative kinds in the sciences of memory. Situated cognition is an umbrella term, subsuming extended, embedded, embodied, enacted and distributed cognition. I will be looking closely at case studies of investigations into memory where such concepts seem prima facie most likely to be found in order to establish a) whether the researchers in question are in fact employing such concepts, and b) whether (...)
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  • The Temporal Orientation of Memory: It's Time for a Change of Direction.Stan Klein - 2013 - Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition 2:222-234.
    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 (...)
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  • Embodied Remembering.Kellie Williamson & John Sutton - 2014 - In L. A. Shapiro (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition. Routledge. pp. 315--325.
    Experiences of embodied remembering are familiar and diverse. We settle bodily into familiar chairs or find our way easily round familiar rooms. We inhabit our own kitchens or cars or workspaces effectively and comfortably, and feel disrupted when our habitual and accustomed objects or technologies change or break or are not available. Hearing a particular song can viscerally bring back either one conversation long ago, or just the urge to dance. Some people explicitly use their bodies to record, store, or (...)
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  • Beyond the Causal Theory? Fifty Years After Martin and Deutscher.Kourken Michaelian & Sarah Robins - 2018 - In Kourken Michaelian, Dorothea Debus & Denis Perrin (eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. pp. 13-32.
    It is natural to think of remembering in terms of causation: I can recall a recent dinner with a friend because I experienced that dinner. Some fifty years ago, Martin and Deutscher (1966) turned this basic thought into a full-fledged theory of memory, a theory that came to dominate the landscape in the philosophy of memory. Remembering, Martin and Deutscher argue, requires the existence of a specific sort of causal connection between the rememberer's original experience of an event and his (...)
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  • Remembering Without Storing: Beyond Archival Models in the Science and Philosophy of Human Memory.Ian O'Loughlin - 2014 - Dissertation,
    Models of memory in cognitive science and philosophy have traditionally explained human remembering in terms of storage and retrieval. This tendency has been entrenched by reliance on computationalist explanations over the course of the twentieth century; even research programs that eschew computationalism in name, or attempt the revision of traditional models, demonstrate tacit commitment to computationalist assumptions. It is assumed that memory must be stored by means of an isomorphic trace, that memory processes must divide into conceptually distinct systems and (...)
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  • Skepticism and Memory.Andrew Moon - 2017 - In Sven Bernecker & Kourken Michaelian (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. pp. 335-347.
    In this chapter, I present and explore various arguments for skepticism that are related to memory. My focus will be on the aspects of the arguments that are unique to memory, which are not shared, for example, by the more often explored skeptical arguments related to perception. -/- Here are some interesting upshots. First, a particular problem for justifiably concluding that one's memory is reliable is that any reasoning in favor of this conclusion will either result in epistemically circularity or (...)
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  • Opening the Doors of Memory: Is Declarative Memory a Natural Kind?Kourken Michaelian - 2015 - Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews 6 (6):475-482.
    Klein's target article argues that autonoetic consciousness is a necessary condition for memory; this unusually narrow view of the scope of memory implies that only episodic memory is, strictly speaking, memory. The narrow view is opposed to the standard broad view, on which causal connection with past experience is sufficient for memory; on the broad view, both declarative (i.e., episodic and semantic) and procedural memory count as genuine forms of memory. Klein mounts a convincing attack on the broad view, arguing (...)
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  • What Memory Is.Stan Klein - 2015 - WIREs Cognitive Science 6 (1):1-38.
    I argue that our current practice of ascribing the term “ memory ” to mental states and processes lacks epistemic warrant. Memory, according to the “received view”, is any state or process that results from the sequential stages of encoding, storage and retrieval. By these criteria, memory, or its footprint, can be seen in virtually every mental state we are capable of having. This, I argue, stretches the term to the breaking point. I draw on phenomenological, historical and conceptual considerations (...)
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