Memory: A Self-Referential Account

New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press (2019)
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This book offers a philosophical account of memory. Memory is remarkably interesting from a philosophical point of view. Our memories interact with mental states of other types in a characteristic way. They also have some associated feelings that other mental states lack. Our memories are special in terms of their representational capacity too, since we can have memories of objective events, and we can have memories of our own past experiences. Finally, our memories are epistemically special, in that beliefs formed on the basis of our memories are protected from certain errors of misidentification and justified in a way which does not rely on any cognitive capacity other than memory. The aim of the book is to explain these features of memory. It proposes that memories have a particular functional role which involves past perceptual experiences and beliefs about the past and suggests that memories have a particular content as well; they represent themselves as having a certain causal origin. The book then accounts for the feelings associated with our memories as the experience of some of the things that our memories represent; things such as our own past experiences, or the fact the memories originate in those experiences. It also accounts for the special justification for belief afforded by our memories in terms of the content that memories have. The resulting picture is a unified account of several philosophically interesting aspects of memory.

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Jordi Fernandez
University of Adelaide


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