Memory and consciousness

Document Type: 
ASSC Conference Item
Disciplines: 
Philosophy
Topics: 
Memory
Keywords: 
memory, higher-order theory, temporal representation
Deposited by: 
Paula Droege
Date of Issue: 
2006
Authors: 
Paula Droege
Event Dates: 
22-25 June 2007
Event Location: 
Las Vegas, Nevada USA
Event Title: 
11th annual meeting of the ASSC
Event Type: 
ASSC Conference
Presentation Type: 
Poster
Refereed: 
No
Number of Pages: 
1
Abstract: 
In considering the relation between memory and consciousness, we can begin with three questions: 1. What is common among memories? 2. How does representation figure in memory? 3. Is memory representationally higher-order, and if so, is this evidence in favor of a higher-order theory of consciousness? Drawing on psychological literature about memory, we can identify four types of memory: skill-based, semantic, declarative and episodic. Only the last form, episodic memory, is interestingly related to consciousness, and only this form is representationally higher-order. This connection seems to favor a higher-order theory of consciousness. However, episodic memory involves a representation of past mental states within a conscious mental state; that is, the higher-order structure is internal to the conscious state. Since the higher-order thoughts that explain conscious states are external to them, the coincidence between episodic memory and higher-order representation does not constitute a reason to adopt higher-order theories of consciousness. A temporal representation theory of consciousness provides a better account. Thinking about how we utilize past information in the present illuminates the role of temporal information in conscious representation and the ways in which temporal information may be irrelevant and so unrepresented, and so unconscious.
AttachmentSize
assc_poster.pdf172.18 KB