Episodic Memory: And what is it for?

In Christopher McCarroll, Kourken Michaelian & André Sant'Anna (eds.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Memory. Routledge (forthcoming)
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The question of what the function of human remembering might be has entered the contemporary philosophical discourse only relatively recently. In this debate, two main views have emerged: preservatism and simulationism. According to preservatism, the function of remembering is to preserve information from/about the past. In contrast, simulationism holds that the function of remembering is to enable reliable thought about the future. Here, I employ form to function reasoning to evaluate both of these views. I argue that both perservatism and simulationism fail to account for the entire representational structure of episodic remembering. As an alternative, I then propose my own account: that the function of remembering is to track when we have epistemic authority about the past.

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Johannes, B. Mahr
York University


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