Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Remembering From the Outside: An Anomalous Point of View?

Philosophy News image
Remembering from-the-outside involves adopting a point of view that one didn’t occupy at the time of the original event. In this sense, the visual perspective of observer memories seems somehow ‘anomalous’. Here I articulate two related objections to genuine memories being recalled from-the-outside: (1) the argument from perceptual impossibility; and (2) the argument from perceptual preservation. The argument from perceptual impossibility claims that because it is impossible to see oneself from-the-outside at the time of the original experience, one cannot have a memory in which one sees oneself from-the-outside: one cannot (genuinely) remember from an observer perspective. Relatedly, the argument from perceptual preservation holds that memory must (broadly) preserve the content of the previous perceptual experience. Even if we concede that the notion of exact preservation is too strict, it is sometimes suggested that genuine memory may lose content over time (through forgetting), but nothing must be added to the content of memory. Because observer perspectives seem to have an added representation of the self, a representation that was not available at the time of encoding, then, so the argument goes, they cannot be genuine memories. Both these worries stem from a broadly preservationist view of memory. The general idea behind them is that the content that is retrieved from memory is not the same as the content that was encoded in memory. According to these two arguments, observer perspectives cannot satisfy preservationist conditions placed on the context of memory encoding. The first step in responding to these arguments is to note that memory is inherently (re)constructive. Empirical evidence shows that memories are open to change, and that their content is not fixed at the point of encoding. Memory is a creative process. It is important to note, however, that (re)constructive processes operate at different points in the memory process. There are. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Philosophy of Mind – The Brains Blog

blog comments powered by Disqus