Metacognition and the puzzle of alethic memory



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Sant’Anna, A. (2024). Metacognition and the puzzle of alethic memory. Philosophy and the Mind Sciences, 5.


Alethism is the view that successful remembering only requires an accurate representation of a past event. It opposes the truth-and-authenticity view, according to which successful remembering requires both an accurate representation of a past event and an accurate representation of a past experience of that event. Alethism is able to handle problematic cases faced by the truth-and-authenticity view, but it faces an important challenge of its own: If successful remembering only requires accurately representing past events, then how is it possible that our memories are also experienced as originating in past experiences of those events? I call this the puzzle of alethic memory. I argue that alethism can be reconciled with the claim that memories are experienced as originating in past experiences of those events—what I call the experience of first-handedness—if we conceive of the phenomenology of remembering in metacognitive terms. According to the metacognitive approach that I favor, the phenomenology of remembering is partly explained by what memory represents and partly explained by the existence of a metacognitive feeling that accompanies memory representations. I argue that accounting for the feeling of first-handedness in terms of the metacognitive feeling that accompanies memory representations allows us to solve the puzzle of alethic memory.


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