Personal Identity and Memory

Sven Bernecker

in Memory

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199577569
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722820 | DOI:
Personal Identity and Memory

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When a memory content involves an indexical reference to the rememberer, the veridicality constraint on memory demands that the rememberer is numerically the same as the one who had the original experience/representation. This chapter investigates how the notion of personal identity is related to the notion of memory. It starts out by discussing the circularity objection to the psychological continuity theory of personal identity. Shoemaker and Parfit suggest solving the circularity objection by substituting the concept of quasi‐memory for the concept of memory. For the concept of quasi‐memory to provide a solution to the circularity objection quasi‐memory must be conceptually independent both from genuine memory and ostensible memory. The conceptual independence of quasi‐memory has come under attack: there are objections from constitutive holism, from the causal theory of memory, and from the immunity to error through misidentification. This chapter argues that the notion of quasi‐memory is indeed coherent and is not a derivative from the concept of memory. The dependence of memory on personal identity of a contingent rather than a logical nature. This chapter also discusses Wollheim's and Schechtman's narrative self‐constitution view of personal identity.

Keywords: quasi‐memory; personal identity; circularity objection; Parfit; Shoemaker; constitutive holism; causal theory of memory; immunity to error through misidentification; Schechtman; Wollheim; narrative identity

Chapter.  7995 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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