When philosophers and psychologists examine the knowledge contained in episodic memories of past experiences, they usually construe this knowledge in representational terms. Most commonly, episodic memory is thought to represent an eye-witness account of events in the rememberer's life; discussion then centres on the question of how reliably memory represents the past. In counterpoint to this dominant research paradigm, it is sometimes observed that when the remembered past diverges from the actual past, these apparent 'misrepresentations' may positively reveal the personal meaning of the rememberer's experience (Fraser, 1984). Episodic memory is thus acknowledged to represent either the past as it was experienced, or, alternatively, the meaning the experience has for the rememberer. In this brief paper I will show how episodic memory's claims to knowledge extend beyond the facts or meaning of the experiences represented, to include also the cognitive, affective and conative knowhow elicited in the remembering of those experiences. In episodic remembering, the rememberer mentally re-enacts the thoughts, feelings, and intentions that constitute the firstperson perspective of their remembered past. Following the momentum of intentional connections through which this remembered perspective is re-enacted, the rememberer is guided to think, feel, and will, in ways they might otherwise not know how to do from their present perspective, in their present situation. I will briefly discuss examples of each of these three varieties of enactive know-how -- cognitive, affective, and conative -- showing how they are similarly enabled by the re-enactment of our remembered experiences. By suggesting how rememberers might employ the cognitive know-how contained in episodic remembering, I also hope to show why this is an area deserving of more attention from researchers interested in the functions of episodic memory in everyday life.
ASCS09 : Proceedings Of The 9th Conference Of The Australasian Society For Cognitive Science
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