, Volume 195, Issue 12, pp 5217–5243 | Cite as

Consciousness and the limits of memory

  • Joseph GottliebEmail author
S.I.: Neuroscience and Its Philosophy


Intermodal representationalism is a popular theory of consciousness. This paper argues that intermodal representationalism is false, or at least likely so. The argument turns on two forms of exceptional episodic memory: hyperthymesia and prodigious visual memory in savant syndrome. Emerging from this argument is a broader lesson about the relationship between memory and perception; that it may be possible to entertain in memory the very same content as in a corresponding perceptual experience, and that the ‘overflow’ interpretation of the classic Sperling paradigm experiments may not fully generalize.


Consciousness Episodic memory Representationalism Hyperthymesia Savant syndrome Richness Fineness of grain 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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