Memory pp 103-114 | Cite as

Is Memory Reliable?

Part of the Problems of Philosophy book series (PRPH)


If there is to be such a thing as memory-knowledge, we will need some way of telling whether the facts we remember are indeed facts —whether the things we remember happening did actually happen. For memory is not always correct; we sometimes think we remember various things, and it turns out that those things are not so; sometimes we are not sure, or simply do not know, whether we are remembering something or merely imagining it. This leads, as we saw in chapter 1, to the search for a “memory indicator,” something that will mark off the genuine cases of memory from cases of mere imagination or of mistakenly thinking we remember. But the search proved unsuccessful; we saw that although we can tell—or rather, know without having to tell—whether we are trying to remember as opposed to deliberately making things up, there is no way of telling, from our remembering itself, whether we are remembering correctly or not.


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© Don Locke 1971

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