more from Gilbert Harman

Single Idea 3101

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

Full Idea

I favour the inferential view of memory over the preservation view. …One constantly reinfers old beliefs.


Memory is more like explaining something than like looking in a photograph album

Gist of Idea

Memories are not just preserved, they are constantly reinferred


Gilbert Harman (Thought [1973], 12.1)

Book Reference

Harman,Gilbert: 'Thought' [Princeton 1977], p.190

A Reaction

This has a grain of truth, but seems a distortion. An image of the old home floats into my mind when I am thinking about something utterly unconnected. When we search memory we may be inferring and explaining, but the same applies to searching images.