“Seeming to Remember”
Abstract: The more interest philosophers take in memory, the less agreement there is that memory exists—or more precisely, that remembering is a distinct psychological kind or mental state. Claims to its distinctiveness face two general challenges. First, endorsing memory’s distinctiveness is thought to compel an undesirable form of disjunctivism (Schwartz, 2018; Sant’Anna & Michaelian, forthcoming). Second, there is increasing empirical evidence of, and theoretical interest in, the similarities between memory and imagination. The debate is now framed as one between discontinuists who endorse memory’s distinctiveness and continuists who do not (Perrin, 2017). I argue that this framing is misleading as it distracts from deeper disagreements about the phenomenon at issue: is the aim an account of memory, or remembering? Are we talking about the ability, its expression, or the underlying neurocognitive system? Is our focus on the feeling of remembering or only the successful cases (or are these equivalent)? To address this, I introduce seeming to remember, which I argue is a distinct psychological kind. I then present my own view of remembering, and its relationship to the underlying neurocognitive system, in terms of seeming to remember. Along the way, I pose objections to current versions of both discontinuism and continuism, which arise because of their failure to account for seeming to remember and its differences from remembering and the underlying system(s) that produce it, respectively.
This seminar is hosted by History and Philosophy of Science & Medicine (HPSM).
For inquiries contact Susan McKinney.