“Memory: The Acquaintance View”
Hosted by the Department of Philosophy
Abstract: Acquaintance – direct awareness – entails the existence of the things with which one is acquainted. This requirement poses no problem for perceptual acquaintance: perception (unlike perceptual experience) is, like acquaintance, a success term; one can’t perceive something that doesn’t exist. But many find an acquaintance view of memory not only implausible, but absurd. One can hardly be acquainted with the past; it no longer exists. If an acquaintance view of memory is absurd, then we can’t treat memory as akin perception: we can’t understand it as a form of direct awareness with events in one’s personal past. I offer an acquaintance view of memory. Perceptual acquaintance requires presence: the perceiver and the things perceived must be spatially and temporally co-present. Memory acquaintance doesn’t require presence. It requires that the remembering subject was acquainted perceptually at the time of the event with the remembered event. Memory acquaintance renews acquaintance with the events in your personal past with which you were originally acquainted in perception.
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