Preservationism in the Epistemology of Memory

Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268) (2017)
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Preservationism states that memory preserves the justification of the beliefs it preserves. More precisely: if S formed a justified belief that p at t1 and retains in memory a belief that p until t2, then S's belief that p is prima facie justified via memory at t2. Preservationism is an unchallenged orthodoxy in the epistemology of memory. Advocates include Sven Bernecker, Tyler Burge, Alvin Goldman, Gilbert Harman, Michael Huemer, Matthew McGrath, and Thomas Senor. I develop three dilemmas for it, in part by drawing on research in cognitive psychology. The dilemmas centre on preservationism's implications for certain cases involving either stored beliefs, forgotten evidence, or recollection failure. Each dilemma shows that preservationism either is false or lacks key support.

Author's Profile

Matthew Frise
Milwaukee School of Engineering


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