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Against discontinuism: Mental time travel and our knowledge of past and future events

In Kourken Michaelian, Stanley B. Klein & Karl K. Szpunar (eds.), Seeing the Future: Theoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel. Oxford University Press. pp. 62-92 (2016)

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  1. Remembering: Epistemic and Empirical.Carl F. Craver - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):261-281.
    The construct “remembering” is equivocal between an epistemic sense, denoting a distinctive ground for knowledge, and empirical sense, denoting the typical behavior of a neurocognitive mechanism. Because the same kind of equivocation arises for other psychologistic terms, the effort to spot and remedy the confusion in the case of remembering might prove generally instructive. The failure to allow these two senses of remembering equal play in their respective domains leads, I argue, to unnecessary confusion about memory externalism, the possibility of (...)
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  • Causation and Mnemonic Roles: On Fernández’s Functionalism.Nikola Andonovski - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía 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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  • Attitudes and the (Dis)Continuity Between Memory and Imagination.André Sant'Anna - 2021 - Estudios de Filosofía 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • SINGULARISM about Episodic Memory.Nikola Andonovski - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):335-365.
    In the philosophy of memory, singularism is the view that episodic memories are singular mental states about unique personally experienced past events. In this paper, I present an empirical challenge to singularism. I examine three distinct lines of evidence from the psychology of memory, concerning general event memories, the transformation of memory traces and the minimized role temporal information plays in major psychological theories of episodic memory. I argue that singularist views will have a hard time accommodating this evidence, facing (...)
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  • Collective Mental Time Travel: Remembering the Past and Imagining the Future Together.Kourken Michaelian & John Sutton - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):4933-4960.
    Bringing research on collective memory together with research on episodic future thought, Szpunar and Szpunar :376–389, 2016) have recently developed the concept of collective future thought. Individual memory and individual future thought are increasingly seen as two forms of individual mental time travel, and it is natural to see collective memory and collective future thought as forms of collective mental time travel. But how seriously should the notion of collective mental time travel be taken? This article argues that, while collective (...)
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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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  • Explaining Imagination.Peter Langland-Hassan - 2020 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    ​Imagination will remain a mystery—we will not be able to explain imagination—until we can break it into parts we already understand. Explaining Imagination is a guidebook for doing just that, where the parts are other ordinary mental states like beliefs, desires, judgments, and decisions. In different combinations and contexts, these states constitute cases of imagining. This reductive approach to imagination is at direct odds with the current orthodoxy, according to which imagination is a sui generis mental state or process—one with (...)
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  • Defending Discontinuism, Naturally.Sarah Robins - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):469-486.
    The more interest philosophers take in memory, the less agreement there is that memory exists—or more precisely, that remembering is a distinct psychological kind or mental state. Concerns about memory’s distinctiveness are triggered by observations of its similarity to imagination. The ensuing debate is cast as one between discontinuism and continuism. The landscape of debate is set such that any extensive engagement with empirical research into episodic memory places one on the side of continuism. Discontinuists concerns are portrayed as almost (...)
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  • Editorial: Memory as Mental Time Travel.André Sant’Anna, Kourken Michaelian & Denis Perrin - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):223-232.
    Originally understood as memory for the “what”, the “when”, and the “where” of experienced past events, episodic memory has, in recent years, been redefined as a form of past-oriented mental time travel. Following a brief review of empirical research on memory as mental time travel, this introduction provides an overview of the contributions to the special issue, which explore the theoretical implications of that research.
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  • Mental Time Travel? A Neurocognitive Model of Event Simulation.Donna Rose Addis - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):233-259.
    Mental time travel is defined as projecting the self into the past and the future. Despite growing evidence of the similarities of remembering past and imagining future events, dominant theories conceive of these as distinct capacities. I propose that memory and imagination are fundamentally the same process – constructive episodic simulation – and demonstrate that the ‘simulation system’ meets the three criteria of a neurocognitive system. Irrespective of whether one is remembering or imagining, the simulation system: acts on the same (...)
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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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  • Creativity.Peter Langland-Hassan - 2020 - In Explaining Imagination. Oxford: pp. 262-296.
    Comparatively easy questions we might ask about creativity are distinguished from the hard question of explaining transformative creativity. Many have focused on the easy questions, offering no reason to think that the imagining relied upon in creative cognition cannot be reduced to more basic folk psychological states. The relevance of associative thought processes to songwriting is then explored as a means for understanding the nature of transformative creativity. Productive artificial neural networks—known as generative antagonistic networks (GANs)—are a recent example of (...)
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  • Unsuccessful Remembering: A Challenge for the Relational View of Memory.André Sant’Anna - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    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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  • Still Life, a Mirror: Phasic Memory and Re-Encounters with Artworks.Clare Mac Cumhaill - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):423-446.
    Re-encountering certain kinds of artworks in the present (re-listening to music, re- reading novels) can often occasion a kind of recollection akin to episodic recollection, but which may be better cast as ‘phasic’, at least insofar as one can be said to remember ‘what it was like’ to be oneself at some earlier stage or phase in one’s personal history. The kinds of works that prompt such recollection, I call ‘still lives’ - they are limited wholes whose formal properties are (...)
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  • There Are No I-Beliefs or I-Desires at Work in Fiction Consumption and This is Why.Peter Langland-Hassan - 2020 - In Explaining Imagination. Oxford: pp. 210-233.
    Currie’s (2010) argument that “i-desires” must be posited to explain our responses to fiction is critically discussed. It is argued that beliefs and desires featuring ‘in the fiction’ operators—and not sui generis imaginings (or "i-beliefs" or "i-desires")—are the crucial states involved in generating fiction-directed affect. A defense of the “Operator Claim” is mounted, according to which ‘in the fiction’ operators would be also be required within fiction-directed sui generis imaginings (or "i-beliefs" and "i-desires"), were there such. Once we appreciate that (...)
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  • What Sort of Imagining Might Remembering Be?Peter Langland-Hassan - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-21.
    This paper 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 memory is defended as a means to establishing two key points: first, one need not defend (...)
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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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  • Memory as Mental Time Travel.Denis Perrin & Kourken Michaelian - 2017 - In Sven Bernecker & Kourken Michaelian (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. pp. 228-239.
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  • Continuities and Discontinuities Between Imagination and Memory: The View From Philosophy.Kourken Michaelian, Denis Perrin & André Sant'Anna - forthcoming - In Anna Abraham (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Imagination. Cambridge University Press.
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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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