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MemoryA Philosophical Study$
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Sven Bernecker

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577569

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577569.001.0001

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Remembering without Knowing

Remembering without Knowing

(p.65) 3 Remembering without Knowing

Sven Bernecker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues against the widespread epistemic theory of memory which consists of two interrelated claims. The first claim is that to remember a proposition is to know it, where this knowledge was previously acquired and preserved. The second claim is that memory can only preserve knowledge from one time to another but cannot generate new justification and knowledge. Both aspects of the epistemic theory of memory are shown to be mistaken. It is possible to remember something in the present that one didn't justifiably believe in the past. Likewise one may acquire in the meantime some plausible but misleading evidence that destroys the status as justified belief of the once‐genuine justified belief that one still remembers. Moreover, cases of ignorant remembering show that one can remember something that one doesn't believe. In sum then, knowledge supervenes on some but not all cases of propositional remembering. Unlike knowledge, memory implies neither belief nor justification. But the epistemic theory of memory is not only wrong in holding that memory is a form of knowledge. It is also mistaken in assuming that memory cannot alter the epistemic status of a belief. Memory doesn't merely have the capacity to preserve epistemic features generated by other sources but that it is also a generative epistemic source.

Keywords:   memory, knowledge, justification, belief, epistemic theory of memory, misleading evidence, ignorant remembering, epistemic source

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