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Volume 47 • Number 1

January 2010



Accounting for Epistemic Relevance: A New Problem for the Causal Theory of Memory

by Dorothea Debus

In their paper "Remembering," first published in the Philosophical Review in 1966, Martin and Deutscher develop what has since come to be known as the Causal Theory of Memory. The core claim of the Causal Theory of Memory (as formulated by Martin and Deutscher) runs as follows:

If someone remembers something, whether it be "public," such as a car accident, or "private," such as an itch, then the following criteria must be fulfilled:

1. Within certain limits of accuracy he represents that past thing.

2. I f the thing was "public," then he observed what he now represents. If the thing was "private," then it was his.

3. His past experience of the thing was operative in producing a state or successive states in him finally operative in producing his representation. These three statements express the condition which we consider to be separately necessary and jointly sufficient, if an event is to be an instance of remembering.

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ISSN: 2152-1123