Memory and the intentional stance

Book Section

Despite Dennett's vast scholarship, he seemed to only have directly addressed the topic of memory in a relatively unknown coauthored article published in a somewhat obscure volume. The current chapter attempts to reconstruct the ideas from this old article, and argues that it offers a viable and coherent view of episodic memory with substantial empirical support. Specifically, the chapter uncovers three empirically supported theses. A functional thesis, according to which our memory system not only processes information about past events but also uses this information to construct useful anticipations of possible future events. A computational thesis, according to which statistical regularities, along with individual limitations and goals, probabilistically constrain the search space examined during memory retrieval. And a metaphysical thesis, according to which memories do not exist as subpersonal-level brain structures encoding particular intentional contents but rather as personal-level psychological phenomena only accessible from the intentional stance.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • De Brigard, F

Published Date

  • February 15, 2018

Book Title

  • The Philosophy of Daniel Dennett

Start / End Page

  • 62 - 91

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780199367511

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/oso/9780199367511.003.0005

Citation Source

  • Scopus