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Memory as a generative epistemic source

Monday 13 November 2017 (15:30-17:30)

Project PERFECT is delighted to host this seminar by Jordi Fernandez, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide and Imperfect Cognitions network member, author of Transparent Minds.

Abstracttransparent minds book cover

Does memory only preserve epistemic justification over time, or can memory also generate it? The received view in epistemology is that memory can only preserve epistemic justification over time (for short, 'preservationism'). Recently, preservationism has been coming under attack from various fronts. I will review three arguments for the view that memory can generate epistemic justification (or 'generationism'), and raise some difficulties for all three of them. Then, I will highlight some aspects of each of the arguments which will help us construct a better defence of generationism. My proposal will be that memory can generate justification due to the special type of content that memories have: Our memories represent themselves as originating on past perceptions of objective facts. If this conception of mnemonic content is correct, what we may believe on the basis of memory always includes something that we were not in a position to believe before we utilised that capacity. For that reason, memory can produce justification for belief through the process of remembering.

For more information please email Sophie Stammers (

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