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We saw that one of the standard difficulties for the traditional theories of memory is that they seem to provide no way of telling when we are remembering and when we are not—when we are merely and mistakenly thinking we remember. In that case, memory could never provide us with knowledge, and there could be no such thing as memory-knowledge. This question, of whether memory can ever enable us to know anything, is one of the major topics in the philosophy of memory, and to it we now turn. But it will help if, at the outset, we notice that the label “memory-knowledge” covers more than one thing. Once we have distinguished between personal memory and factual memory, we can also distinguish between our knowledge of the things we remember and our memory of facts we already know, i.e., between memory-knowledge in the sense of knowledge of things experienced in the past, and memory-knowledge in the sense of knowledge acquired in the past and since retained.
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