Memory pp 132-137 | Cite as

The Indispensability of Memory-Knowledge

Part of the Problems of Philosophy book series (PRPH)


We have seen that, if we are to be rational, if we are to have any reason for believing anything, we cannot believe that the world has just sprung into existence. We have also seen that we cannot establish the general reliability of memory without already relying on memory. But can we perhaps justify our reliance on our memory-beliefs in something the way we justify our belief that there has been a past? For memory-knowledge is an indispensable element in human knowledge; most of the things we know we know because we remember them, and the progress of knowledge, or even the day-to-day conduct of our lives, would be quite impossible without the ability to remember. Indeed without memory we could not even havb knowledge of our present environments; I could not know that this is a table I am now writing on if I could not remember what tables are. So without memory one could know nothing at all, and there would be no such thing as human knowledge.


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© Don Locke 1971

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