Remembering from the outside: personal memory and the perspectival mind

Christopher McCarroll

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)


    When recalling events that one personally experienced, one often visualizes the remembered scene as one originally saw it: from an internal visual perspective. Sometimes, however, one sees oneself in the remembered scene: from an external “observer perspective.” In such cases one remembers from-the-outside. This book is about such memories. Remembering from-the-outside is a common yet curious case of personal memory: one views oneself from a perspective one seemingly could not have had at the time of the original event. How can past events be recalled from a detached perspective? How is it that the self is observed? And how can we account for the self-presence of such memories? Indeed, can there be genuine memories recalled from-the-outside? If memory preserves past perceptual content then how can one see oneself from-the-outside in memory? This book disentangles the puzzles posed by remembering from-the-outside. The book develops a dual-faceted approach for thinking about memory, which acknowledges constructive and reconstructive processes at encoding and at retrieval, and it uses this approach to defend the possibility of genuine memories being recalled from-the-outside. In so doing it also elucidates the nature of such memories and sheds light on the nature of personal memory. The book argues that field and observer perspectives are different ways of thinking about a particular past event. Further, by exploring the ways we have of getting outside of ourselves in memory and other cognitive domains, the book sheds light on the nature of our perspectival minds.

    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages220
    ISBN (Electronic)9780190674267
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Episodic memory
    • Imagination
    • Memory
    • Mental imagery
    • Modes of presentation
    • Observer perspectives
    • Perception
    • Perspective
    • Phenomenology
    • Spatial cognition


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