Memory, attention, and joint reminiscing

Book Section

When people jointly reminisce, they often talk about past objects, which may or may no longer exist. How can two or more people jointly refer to an object that is long gone-or at least, that is not present in their surrounding? In this chapter, I offer a three-part answer to this question. First, I suggest that our capacity to remember intentional objects during memory retrieval depends on our capacity to direct our attention inwardly toward the relevant component of a memorial content-a mental act I call mental ostension. Second, I argue that, for us to refer to remembered intentional objects, we must possess the ability to refer to them indirectly or “deferredly” by way of mentally ostending toward a present mental content; in short, we must be capable of deferred mental ostension. Finally, I claim that to jointly reminisce, we must have the capacity to guide someone else’s attention inwardly toward the relevant aspect of the mental content we want them to focus on so that they become aware of the past object we are deferredly ostending; that is, we need concerted deferred mental ostension.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • De Brigard, F

Published Date

  • January 1, 2018

Book Title

  • New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory

Start / End Page

  • 200 - 220

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781138065604

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.4324/9781315159591

Citation Source

  • Scopus