Observer perspective and acentred memory

Some puzzles about point of view in personal memory

John Sutton*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    40 Citations (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Sometimes I remember my past experiences from an 'observer' perspective, seeing myself in the remembered scene. This paper analyses the distinction in personal memory between such external observer visuospatial perspectives and 'field' perspectives, in which I experience the remembered actions and events as from my original point of view. It argues that Richard Wollheim's related distinction between centred and acentred memory fails to capture the key phenomena, and criticizes Wollheim's reasons for doubting that observer 'memories' are genuine personal memories. Since field perspectives in personal memory are also likely to be the product of constructive processes, we should reject the common assumption that such constructive processes inevitably bring distortion and error. Yet field perspectives tend to be treated as privileged also in the domains of memory for skilled movement, and memory for trauma. In each case, it is argued that visuospatial perspective in personal memory should be distinguished from other kinds of perspective such as kinesthetic perspective and emotional perspective.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27-37
    Number of pages11
    JournalPhilosophical Studies
    Volume148
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

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