Memory as acquaintance with the past: some Lessons from Russell, 1912-1914

Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 51 (121):149-172 (2010)
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Russell’s theory of memory as acquaintance with the past seems to square uneasily with his definition of acquaintance as the converse of the relation of presentation of an object to a subject. We show how the two views can be made to cohere under a suitable construal of ‘presentation’, which has the additional appeal of bringing Russell’s theory of memory closer to contemporary views on direct reference and object-dependent thinking than is usually acknowledged. The drawback is that memory as acquaintance with the past falls short of fulfilling Russell’s requirement that knowledge by acquaintance be discriminating knowledge – a shortcoming shared by contemporary externalist accounts of knowledge from memory.
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Archival date: 2011-08-31
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