The metasemantics of memory
In Sven Bernecker’s excellent new book, Memory, he proposes an account of what we might call the “metasemantics” of memory: the conditions that determine the contents of the mental representations employed in memory. Bernecker endorses a “pastist externalist” view, according to which the content of a memory-constituting representation is fixed, in part, by the “external” conditions prevalent at the (past) time of the tokening of the original representation (the one from which the memory-constituting one is causally derived). Bernecker argues that the best version of a pastist externalism about memory contents will have the result that there can be semantically-induced memory losses in cases involving unwitting “world-switching”. The burden of this paper is to show that Bernecker’s argument for this conclusion does not succeed. My arguments on this score have implications for our picture of mind-world relations, as these are reflected in a subject’s attempts to recall her past thoughts.
KeywordsSemantics Metasemantics Memory Externalism World-switching
- Bernecker, S. (2009). Memory: A philosophical study. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Goldberg, S. (2007b). Semantic externalism and epistemic illusion. In S. Goldberg (Ed.), Internalism and externalism in semantics and epistemology (pp. 235–252). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar