more from Thomas Reid

Single Idea 23643

[catalogued under 12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 4. Memory]

Full Idea

Every man feels he must believe what he distinctly remembers, though he can give no other reason for his belief, but that he remembers the thing distinctly; whereas, when he merely distinctly imagines a thing, he has no belief in it upon that account.

Gist of Idea

We all trust our distinct memories (but not our distinct imaginings)


Thomas Reid (Essays on Intellectual Powers 3: Memory [1785], 1)

Book Reference

Reid,Thomas: 'Inquiry and Essays', ed/tr. Beanblossom /K.Lehrer [Hackett 1983], p.207

A Reaction

The word 'distinct' is doing some heavy work here. I fear that believing the memory is the only criterion we have for calling it distinct. As a boy I was persuaded to change my testimony about a car accident, and I realised I was not distinct about it.