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Scottish commonsense about memory : a defence of Thomas Reid's direct knowledge account.

Hamilton, A. (2003) 'Scottish commonsense about memory : a defence of Thomas Reid's direct knowledge account.', Australasian journal of philosophy., 81 (2). pp. 229-245.

Abstract

Reid rejects the image theory --the representative or indirect realist position--that memory-judgements are inferred from or otherwise justified by a present image or introspectible state. He also rejects the trace theory , which regards memories as essentially traces in the brain. In contrast he argues for a direct knowledge account in which personal memory yields unmediated knowledge of the past. He asserts the reliability of memory, not in currently fashionable terms as a reliable belief-forming process, but more elusively as a principle of Commonsense. There remains a contemporary consensus against Reid's position. I argue that Reid's critique is essentially sound, and that the consensus is mistaken; personal memory judgements are spontaneous and non-inferential in the same way as perceptual judgements. But I question Reid's account of the connection between personal memory and personal identity. My primary concern is rationally reconstructive rather than scholarly, and downplays recent interpretations of Reid's faculty psychology as a precursor of functionalism and other scientific philosophies of mind.

Item Type:Article
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Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajp/jag206
Record Created:25 Mar 2008
Last Modified:08 Apr 2009 16:29

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