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Explanatory contextualism about episodic memory

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Subtitle:towards a diagnosis of the causalist-simulationist debate
We argue that the causal theory of memory and the simulation theory of memory are not as straightforwardly incompatible as they are usually taken to be. Following a brief review of the theories, we describe alternative normative and descriptive perspectives on memory, arguing that the causal theory aligns better with the normative perspective and the simulation theory with the descriptive perspective. Taking explanatory contextualism about perception as our starting point, we then develop a form of explanatory contextualism about memory, arguing that, depending on the context in which we find ourselves, either the normative perspective or the descriptive perspective may be appropriate. It follows that, while the causal theory and the simulation theory cannot both be right with respect to a given perspective, and while it is necessary to choose one perspective or the other in a given context, there an important sense in which we need not choose between causalism and simulationism. We conclude by differentiating our position from and critiquing a related position developed by Craver (2020) and defending our position against objections.
Journal: Erkenntnis: an international journal of analytical philosophy
ISSN: 0165-0106
Volume: 99
Pages: 1 - 29
Publication year:2022
Keywords:A1 Journal article