Memory identification and its failures


Episodic memory
Propositional attitudes

How to Cite

Memory identification and its failures. (2024). Philosophy and the Mind Sciences, 5.


When we remember, we often know that we do. How does this memory identification proceed? After having articulated some constraints on an attractive account of memory identification, this paper explores three types of accounts that respectively appeal to features of memory content, of memory as an activity, and of memory as an attitude. It offers reasons to favour an attitudinal account giving pride of place to the feeling of familiarity.



Anscombe, G. E. M. (1963). Intention. Blackwell.

Audi, R. (1995). Memorial justification. Philosophical Topics, 23(1), 31–45.

Bernecker, S. (2010). Memory: A philosophical study. Oxford University Press.

Brown, A. S. (2003). A review of the déjà vu experience. Psychological Bulletin, 129(3), 394–413.

Burge, T. (1993). Content preservation. The Philosophical Review, 102(4), 457–488.

Byrne, A. (2010). Recollection, perception, imagination. Philosophical Studies, 148(1), 15–26.

Debus, D. (2008). Experiencing the past: A relational account of recollective memory. Dialectica, 62(4), 405–432.

Deonna, J., & Teroni, F. (2022). Emotions and their correctness conditions: A defense of attitudinalism. Erkenntnis.

Dokic, J. (1997). Une théorie réflexive du souvenir épisodique. Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue Canadienne de Philosophie, 36(3), 527–554.

Evans, G. (1982). The varieties of reference. Oxford University Press.

Fassio, D. (n.d.). Belief, aim of | internet encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved November 20, 2023, from

Fernandez, J. (2019). Memory. A self-referential account. Oxford University Press.

Fish, W. (2010). Philosophy of perception. A contemporary introduction. Routledge.

Friedman, J. (2013). Question-directed attitudes*. Philosophical Perspectives, 27(1), 145–174.

Garcia-Marquez, T., & Mackie, D. (2000). The positive feeling of familiarity: Mood as an information processing regulation mechanism. In H. Bless & J. Forgas (Eds.), The message within: The role of subjective experience in social cognition and behaviour (pp. 240–261). Psychology Press.

Hoerl, C. (2001). The phenomenology of episodic recall. In C. Hoerl & T. McCormack (Eds.), Time and memory (pp. 315–338). Oxford University Press.

Hoerl, C. (2014). Remembering events and remembering looks. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 5(3), 351–372.

Hoerl, C. (2022). A knowledge-first approach to episodic memory. Synthese, 200(5), 376.

Jacoby, L. L., & Dallas, M. (1981). On the relationship between autobiographical memory and perceptual learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 110(3), 306–340.

Kind, A. (2016). Imagining under constraints. In A. Kind & P. Kung (Eds.), Knowledge through imagination (pp. 145–159). Oxford University Press.

Lai, C. (2022). Remembering is not a kind of knowing. Synthese, 200(333).

Leboe-McGowan, J. P., & Whittlesea, B. W. A. (2013). Through the SCAPE looking glass: Sources of performance and sources of attribution. In B. W. A. W. Jason P. Leboe-McGowan (Ed.), The oxford handbook of cognitive psychology (pp. 243–266). Oxford University Press.

Locke, D. (1971). Memory. Doubleday & Co.

Martin, C. B., & Deutscher, M. (1966). Remembering. Philosophical Review, 75, 161–196.

Martin, M. G. F. (2001). Out of the past: Episodic recall as retained acquaintance. In C. Hoerl & T. McCormack (Eds.), Time and memory (pp. 257–284). Oxford University Press.

Martin, M. G. F. (2002). The transparency of experience. Mind & Language, 17(4), 376–425.

Matthen, M. (2010). Is memory preservation? Philosophical Studies, 148, 3–14.

McCarroll, C. J. (2020). Remembering the personal past: Beyond the boundaries of imagination. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

Michaelian, K. (2016). Mental time travel: Episodic memory and our knowledge of the personal past. The MIT Press.

Milona, M. (2016). Taking the perceptual analogy seriously. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 19(4), 897–915.

Naylor, A. (1985). In defense of a nontraditional theory of memory. The Monist, 68(1), 136–150.

Noordhof, P. J. P. (2022). Relationism about memory? In A. Berninger & I. Vendrell Ferran (Eds.), Philosophical perspectives on memory and imagination (pp. 94–123). Routledge.

Owens, D. (1996). A lockean theory of memory experience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 56(2), 319–332.

Perrin, D., Michaelian, K., & Sant’Anna, A. (2020). The phenomenology of remembering is an epistemic feeling. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

Perrin, D., & Sant’Anna, A. (2022). Episodic memory and the feeling of pastness: From intentionalism to metacognition. Synthese, 200(109).

Pollock, J. (1974). Knowledge and justification. Princeton University Press.

Russell, B. (1921). The analysis of mind. Routledge.

Schellenberg, S. (2010). The particularity and phenomenology of perceptual experience. Philosophical Studies: An Interna- tional Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition, 149(1), 19–48.

Scherer, K. (2001). Appraisal considered as a process of multilevel sequential checking. In Klaus R. Scherer Angela Schorr & T. Johnstone (Eds.), Appraisal processes in emotion: Theory, methods, research (Vol. 92, pp. 92–120). Oxford Academic.

Schwitzgebel, E. (2002). A phenomenal, dispositional account of belief. Noûs, 36(2), 249–275.

Tappolet, C., & Tappolet, C. (2016). Emotions, values, and agency. Oxford University Press.

Teroni, F. (2017). The phenomenology of memory. In K. M. S. Bernecker (Ed.), The routledge handbook of philosophy of memory (p. 21). Routledge.

Teroni, F. (2019). On seeming to remember. In D. Debus; K. Michaelian & D. Perrin (Ed.), New directions in the philosophy of memory (pp. 329–345). Routledge.

Teroni, F. (2023). Evaluative theories in psychology and philosophy of emotion. Mind & Language, 38(1), 81–97.

Textor, M. (2021). The nature of the question demands a separation?: Frege on distinguishing between content and force. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 99(2), 226–240.

Tulving, E. (1985). Memory and consciousness. Canadian Psychology / Psychologie Canadienne, 26(1), 1–12.

Urmson, J. O. (1971). Memory and imagination. Mind, 80(1), 70–92.

Whittlesea, B. W. A. (1993). Illusions of familiarity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 19(6), 1235–1253.

Winkelmann, P., & Cacioppo, J. (2001). Mind at ease puts a smile on the face: Psychological evidence that processing facili- ation elicits positive affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(6), 989–1000.

Yonelinas, A. P., Aly, M., Wang, W.-C., & Koen, J. D. (2010). Recollection and familiarity: Examining controversial assump- tions and new directions. Hippocampus, 20(11), 1178–1194.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2024 Fabrice Teroni