What memory is

WIREs Cognitive Science 6 (1):1-38 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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 to make the case that an act of memory entails a direct, non-inferential feeling of re-acquaintance with one’s past. It does so by linking content retrieved from storage with autonoetic awareness during retrieval. On this view, memory is not the content of experience, but the manner in which that content is experienced. I discuss some theoretical and practical implications and advantages of adopting this more nuanced view of memory. -/-

Author's Profile

Stanely Bernard Klein
University of California at Santa Barbara


Added to PP

4,420 (#755)

6 months
991 (#241)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?