, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 459–476 | Cite as

Remembering Matilal on Remembering

  • Arindam ChakrabartiEmail author


Although memory is pivotal to consciousness and without it no perceptual judgment or thinking is possible, Nyāya epistemology does not accept memory as a knowledge source (pramāņa). Prof Matilal elucidates and defends Udayana’s justification for calling into question the knowledgehood or even truth of any recollection. Deepening Matilal’s argument, this paper first shows why, if a remembering reproduces exactly the original experience from which it borrows its truth-claim, then there is a mismatch between the time of experience and the time of recall and the remembering ends up being false. To correct that error, if we change the tense in the content of recollection, the added past-ness goes beyond the original experience and violates the purely reproductive nature of memory. The paper ends by responding to this Nyāya position using arguments from Dvaita Vedānta and Jaina epistemology where remembering can be veridical and memory is accepted as an important knowledge source. The additional element of past-ness (a sense of “back-then”) cannot be derived from sense perception. It has to be a spontaneous contribution of the inner sense.


smṛti (memory) Pramā (knowledge) Pramāņa (knowledge source) Anubhava yathānubhava (just-as-the-experience) Hippocampus Amygdala Synaptic activities Mental perception 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Hawaii ManoaHonoluluUSA

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