Opening the doors of memory: Is declarative memory a natural kind?

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews 6 (6):475-482 (2015)
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Klein's target article argues that autonoetic consciousness is a necessary condition for memory; this unusually narrow view of the scope of memory implies that only episodic memory is, strictly speaking, memory. The narrow view is opposed to the standard broad view, on which causal connection with past experience is sufficient for memory; on the broad view, both declarative (i.e., episodic and semantic) and procedural memory count as genuine forms of memory. Klein mounts a convincing attack on the broad view, arguing that it opens the "doors of memory" too far, but this commentary contends that the narrow view does not open them far enough. It may be preferable to adopt an intermediate view of the scope of memory, on which causal connection is sufficient for memory only when it involves encoding, storage, and retrieval of content. More demanding than the simple causal condition but less demanding than the autonoesis condition, the encoding-storage-retrieval condition implies that both episodic and semantic memory count as genuine forms of memory but that procedural memory does not.


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