Funded by a generous grant from the University of Otago's Division of Humanities, researchers from Australasia and Europe gathered in Dunedin, New Zealand on 25-26 October 2016 for a workshop on New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. The workshop, organized by Kourken Michaelian, was the second of two events linked to a planned book—edited by Michaelian, Dorothea Debus, and Denis Perrin—featuring papers describing new lines of research in this burgeoning field; the first was held at the University of Grenoble earlier in 2016 as part of a broader interdisciplinary event.
The two days of the workshop included eight talks. On the first day, Kourken Michaelian’s “Confabulating, misremembering, relearning: The simulation theory of memory and unsuccessful remembering” argued against taxonomies of memory errors that are based on the causal theory of memory. The talk then developed an alternative taxonomy based on the simulation theory of memory.
Denis Perrin's “The procedural nature of episodic memory” showed that accessing declarative (especially episodic) memory requires skills held in procedural memory. It is therefore mistaken, he argued, to distinguish sharply between declarative and procedural memory, when in fact, procedural memory enables declarative memory.
André Sant’Anna, in “Thinking about events: A pragmatic account of the objects of episodic hypothetical thought”, argued that a pragmatist approach can help to distinguish memory from other forms of episodic hypothetical thought. In particular, he claimed, we can determine whether a given episodic hypothetical thought qualifies as memory by considering the habits of action that it recruits.
Finally, Jordi Fernández, in “Functionalism and the nature of episodic memory”, pointed to a number of problems for existing causal and narrative theories of remembering. The talk then developed an alternative functionalist theory designed to avoid these problems.
The first day of the workshop was followed by a public talk, delivered by John Sutton, on “Situating cognitive futures (and pasts): Small groups and shared histories”.