Embodied Episodic Memory: a New Case for Causalism?

Intellectica 74:229-252 (2021)
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Is an appropriate causal connection to the past experience it represents a necessary condition for a mental state to qualify as an episodic memory? For some years this issue has been the subject of an intense debate between the causalist theory of episodic memory (CTM) and the simulationist theory of episodic memory (STM). This paper aims at exploring the prospects for an embodied approach to episodic memory and assessing the potential case for causalism that could be founded on it. In a critical section, it argues that the empirical data to which STM appeals are both incomplete and inconclusive, and on closer examination even provide support for a proceduralist version of CTM. In a constructive section, it elaborates on the notion of a necessary causal connection in terms of particular procedural patterns acquired at encoding and operative at retrieval, grounding this move on recent empirical data about eye movements in mnemonic mental imagery.

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