Content and Object: Husserl, Twardowski and Psychologism (Phaenomenologica)

The School of Brentano and Husserlian Phenomenology, Studia Phaenomenologica vol III, nr. 1-2/2003
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source link McIntyre, Ronald, II. Title B Reidel Publishing Company, P. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland and copyrightholders as specified on appropriate pages within No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any informational storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner.

Translations from Ideas and from works not available in English at the time of our writing are our own. Otherwise, we have made use of available English translations, and page references are to these editions. We have sometimes made translational changes in passages cited from English translations; on those occasions page references are followed by the notation 'with trans. CM Cartesian Meditations. Edited by S. Strasser Husserliana I. Nijhoff, The Hague, Originally published in French in , trans!. Peiffer and E. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill. EJ Experience and Judgment.

Churchill and Karl Ameriks. Claassen, Hamburg, Originally published in Nijhoff, The Ideas Hague, [Formale und transzendentalelogik. Niemeyer, Halle, Ideen zu einer reinen Phiinomenologie und phiinomenologischen Philosophie. Erstes Buch. Boyce Gibson. George Allen and Unwin, London, Drittes Buch. Alston and George Nakhnikian. Funj Vorlesungen. Lectures delivered by Husserl in Logical Investigations. Revised ed. Prolegomena and Investigations I-VI in 2 vols. Niemeyer, Halle, and [Vol. I and Vol.

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II, Pt. The flist edition of Logische Untersuchungen was published in in Halle by Niemeyer. Phenomenological Psychology. Nijhoff, The Hague, [Phiinomenologische Psychologie. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Ind. Zur Phiinomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstseins. Nijhoff, The Hague, In addition to Husserl's Vorlesungen zur Phiinomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstsein, this volume contains supplementary texts not translated in Time.

References to these texts will be indicated by Zeit. Goheen, and Jaakko Hintikka. In the fall of we wrote a joint article that proved to be a prolegomenon to the present work, our 'Intentionality via Intensions', The Journal of Philosophy 68 Professor Hintikka then suggested we write a joint book, and in the spring of we began writing the present work. The project was to last ten years as our conception of the project continued to grow at each stage.

Our iritellectual debts follow the history of our project. During our dissertation days at Stanford, we joined with fellow doctoral candidates John Lad and Michael Sukale and Professors F llesdal, Goheen, and Hintikka in an informal seminar on phenomenology that met weekly from June of through March of During the summers of and we regrouped in another informal seminar on phenomenology, meeting weekly at Stanford and sometimes Berkeley, the regular participants being ourselves, Hubert Dreyfus, Dagfmn F llesdal, Jane Lipsky McIntyre, Izchak Miller, and, in , John Haugeland.

More recently, we enjoyed discussions and presented some of our results at the Summer Institute on Phenomenology and Existentialism, on 'Continental and Analytic Perspectives on Intentionality' held at the University of California, Berkeley, directed by Hubert Dreyfus and John Haugeland, under the auspices of The Council for Philosophical Studies with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The School of Brentano and Husserlian Phenomenology, Studia Phaenomenologica vol III, nr. 1-2/2003

We are grateful to all the above-mentioned philosophers for intellectual inspirations of many forms. We should also like to thank our students and colleagues over the years and our audiences at various institutions and conferences for their responses to presentations of ideas that were taking shape for the present book.

The book is for the most part thoroughly co-authored, with both content and wording being the result of inextricably joint efforts at several stages of writing. The only exceptions are as follows. Section 2. Sections 3. Section 3. We wish to thank Professor F llesdal for his encouragement of our project and especially for introducing us to Hussed's philosophy in a way that made its importance so clearly evident.

We are deeply grateful to Professor Hintikka, both for the intellectual stimulation he has provided over the past fifteen years and for his efforts and kind support as advising editor for D. Reidel Publishing Company.


We thank as well the editors at Reidel, especially Ms. Kuipers, for their cooperation, encouragement, and patience.

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And we thank Lynne Friedman for her expert typing of most of the manuscript, and Wanda Roach and Virginia Drew for their equally able typing of remaining parts. That title gave way to another more accurately indicating the focus of the f"mished work. By virtue of being conscious, a person stands in a special kind of relation to his or her environment: we are not merely affected by physical things, events, states of affairs, and other persons; we are also conscious of all these things, of numbers, propositions, our own mental states, and of anything else that we bring before our minds.

This relational character of being conscious is "intentionality". It manifests itself in every instant of our mental life, in perceiving, desiring, remembering, fearing, loving, doubting, judging, and even dreaming or day-dreaming. Intentionality, then, characterizes that aspect of a person that is called "consciousness" or "mind". And so the study of intentionality is a central part of the philosophy of mind. Specifically, it is a study of the unique way in which mind or consciousness relates to its objects and of the features of consciousness by virtue of which it has this relational character.

The focus of our study is the theory of intentionality developed in the early part of the Twentieth Century by the Czecho-German philosopher Edmund Husserl. Our approach is part scholarly and part systematic. Approximately half our efforts will be toward formulating and understanding Husserl's theory of intentionality, by interpreting his texts and by relating it to work by other thinkers both of his day and of recent years. The other half of our efforts will be toward evaluating and extending the type of theory of intentionality that Husserl advocated, assessing its strengths and weaknesses and indicating how it can be developed beyond Husserl's own achievements.

There are both historical and theoretical reasons for studying Husserl's theory of intentionality. Husserl, of course, was the founder of the discipline called "phenomenology" and the father of the influential Twentieth-Century movement of phenomenological philosophy and psychology. Phenomenology began with Husserl as a kind of descriptive psychology, analyzing experiences xiii.

Ultimately, however, he developed phenomenology into a transcendental analysis, somewhat like Kant's, of the basic functions of the ego that are necessary for the very possibility of intentional experiences of various fundamental kinds. Phenomenology is perhaps most widely known for the method Husserl proposed for carrying out his phenomenological investigations - a method that includes a kind of internal reflection, called "epoche", that "brackets" concern with the external world and focuses on the internal structures of experiences, on the "contents" of consciousness.

However, Husserl was a systematic thinker who developed interlocking doctrines of epistemology, ontology, logic, and phenomenology, as well as a methodology for developing these doctrines. And the foundation for nearly all his work was his theory of intentionality. Husserl's phenomenology has been succeeded in European thought by existential as opposed to transcendental phenomenology, hermeneutics, structuralism, and now post-structuralism. All trace in one way or another to the work of Husserl, by extending or modifying it, by using it as a springboard to new ideas, or by reacting against it or against the Cartesian-Lockean-Kantian heritage that some say culminates in Husserl's philosophical system.

So Husserl's philosophy, fundamentally grounded in his theory of intentionality, has considerably influenced the intellectual currents of contemporary continental Europe. And although it has been less influential elsewhere, there are signs of an emerging interest in Husserl's work among English-speaking philosophers. Husserl's major works are now available in English translation, and Anglo American philosophers are beginning to find that Husserl speaks to central concerns of their tradition.

As the breadth and depth of Husserl's thought become evident, Husserl may indeed take his place among the other great systematic philosophers of the West. Perhaps the most important reason for studying Husserl's theory of intentionality, though, is that there is still much to be learned from it, especially as it forms a basic part of a theory of mind.

James and Husserl : the foundations of meaning (Book, ) []

For most of this century, at least in the English-speaking world, the dominant philosophical theories of mind have been behaviorist, physicalist, functionalist, or causal theories. These theories would study mind from the outside, from a third-person point of view.

Indeed, some would defme mind in "external" terms. The phenomenological theory of mind is a vital alternative to these theories. With roots in Descartes and Kant, Husserl's philosophy is perhaps the most developed form of a theory of mind studied from the first-person point of view. And Husserl's theory, unlike its antecedents, is founded in a fully articulated theory of intentionality.

Though Cartesian in spirit, a phenomenological. For it is not a Cartesianism that takes an ontological distinction between mind and body as basic; what is basic is intentionality. A phenomenological theory of mind must account for intentionality, but it need not necessarily rule out an ultimately physicalist ontology. Interestingly, modern cognitive science adopts a theory of mind based on a notion of mental representation that is similar to Husserl's notion of intentionality, while yet it remains basically physicalist.

An externalist theory of mind will likely omit intentionality, however, and in so doing will fail to account for the fundamental feature of conscious life as we all experience it. So it is important to study Husserl's theory of mind, which emphasizes the intentionality of mind while remaining neutral about further issues of physicalism. Husserl's theory is one of the very few theories of intentionality or mental representation to have been systematically developed. And where philosophers recently have attended to intentional states of mind, especially the so-called propositional attitudes such as belief, they have almost unanimously focused on the "objects" of these attitudes or experiences.

Their results reflect an important assumption about the problem of intentionality: the assumption that the objects of our consciousness are not ordinary things, such as physical objects, and that, therefore, the problem of intentionality is to discover what kinds of entities the objects of intentional attitudes and experiences are.

Husserl offers an important alternative to this approach, an alternative that focuses on the "contents" rather than the "objects" of intentional experiences. At first he adopted what would today be called an "adverbial" theory, to the effect that the intentionality of an experience, such as seeing a dog or imagining a unicorn, is a non-relational state of being conscious in a certain way. But later he offered a more weighty theory of the "content" of an intentional state, a theory whose goal was to explain how the content of an experience can succeed in relating it to an entity of some ordinary sort, such as a physical object.

We shall be developing this phenomenological, "content", theory of consciousness in detail so that it may be evaluated for both its doctrinal and its historical importance. Husserl's developed account of the phenomenological content of an experience is his theory of "noesis" and "noema". The terms derive from the Greek word for perception or mind. Our emphasis will be on the noema of an experience, which is its abstract content or form.

A noema embodies the "way" in which the object of an experience is presented or intended in the. It is through this notion of noema that our study of Husserl's theory of the intentionality of mind becomes, in a central way, also a study of meaning and language. As the content of an intentional experience, a meaning or noema is what gives the experience its intentional character: the noema prescribes an object, and if there is such an object then that is the object intended in the experience.

And Husserl sees an analogous role for noemata in language. Husserl himself developed a Frege-like theory of linguistic meaning and reference, based on the classical view that language is expressive of thought. The "thoughts" expressed in language, he held, are the abstract, shareable contents - the meanings or noemata - of speakers' judgments and other experiences of thinking.

Accordingly, the meanings that words express are themselves the noemata of the various intentional experiences that underlie the use of words. And as expressed in language, meanings or noemata are what give language its "referential" character: they prescribe objects of reference, so that language, too, is "of" or "about" something -- and for the very same reason that experiences are intentional. Accordingly, there derive from Husserl's interlocking doctrines about mind and language important parallels between intentionality and reference.

Indeed, the meanings that HusserI proposes as the proper objects of study in semantic theory and the contents of experience that he proposes to study through phenomenological analysis are the very same entities. We hope to show, therefore, that semantic theory in the Frege-HusserI tradition and theory of mind in the phenomenological tradition can illuminate each other in fruitful ways.

For HusserI, the phenomenological content of an experience - its meaning or noema - can be grasped in inner reflection by the phenomenological method of epoche or bracketing. But, he held, the meaning of an experience can be further explicated by laying out what he called the "horizon" of the experience. There are two different, but cognate, notions of horizon. As HusserI usually defined it, the horizon of an experience is the range of possible further experiences especially perceptions of the same object, experiences that could present the same object from different perspectives in ways compatible with the content of the given experience.

This notion of horizon aligns in some ways with a verificationist or pragmatist analysis of meaning. But Husserl's cognate notion of horizon, the horizon of an object with respect to a given experience, points in another direction. This horizon consists of the range of possibilities left open by the experience, possible circumstances in which the object presented in the experience takes on various further properties and relations to other objects in ways that are compatible with what the content of the experience prescribes.

Bibliography on Logic and Formal Ontology in Husserl (K- Z)

We shall show that this notion aligns more closely with recent analyses of meaning, derived from Rudolf Camap, in terms of "possible worlds". The explication of meaning in terms of possible worlds is central to the semantic analyses of intentional idioms like "believes" and "perceives" given by laakko Hintikka, Richard Montague, and others. The notion of horizon is thus a crucial link connecting this part of semantic theory with Husserl's phenomenological theory of intentionality and mind. Our study may be perceived as consisting of three interconnected parts.

The first Chapters I and II introduces the topic of intentionality and presents some of the historical and philosophical background of Husserl's theory. In particular, we discuss some of the problems that a theory of intentionality must solve and relate them to logical and seman tical problems concerning the analysis of so-called "intensional" contexts e.

We then discuss the "object-approach" to intentionality, especially as exemplified in the accounts of intentionality offered by Franz Brentano and Alexius Meinong, and Frege's theory of sense and reference and his analysis of intensional contexts. We trace the development of his notion of content from Logical Investigations to Ideas, drawing on related doctrines of Kasimir Twardowski, Bernard Bolzano, and Frege.

We then develop Husserl's cognate notions of horizon in detail and indicate some fruitful ways in which they extend his basic phenomenological theory of intentionality and meaning. The third part Chapters VI, VII, and VIII extends Husserl's theory of intentionality in further ways, primarily by relating the notions of noema and horizon to the possible-worlds explication of meaning. This discussion draws significantly on related ideas of Camap, Hintikka, C. Lewis, and Montague. We develop a theory of intentionality that makes heuristic use of possible-worlds but also retains a more basic.

Finally', we apply this theory to some kinds of intentional experiences that Hussed addressed in suggestive but inconclusive ways; these experiences are what we call "defmite" or "de re" intentions, and they include both perceptual experiences and experiences in which an object is "individuated" for the person who intends it. Every Linguistic Meaning is a Noematic Sinn 2. Qualifications and Extensions of the Expressibility Thesis 2. Noematic Description 2. Esposito, Roberto. Hanafi, Zakiya. Cultural Memory in the Present. Vries, Mieke Bal and Hent de.

Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, Garin, Eugenio. History of Italian Philosophy. Pinton, Giorgio. II: From Enlightenment to Risorgimento. II vols. Amsterdam: Rodopi, Rubini, Rocco. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Memory and the Self , authored by Mark Rowlands, is a fascinating book that has all the qualities of good philosophical writing. It deals with a topic, memory, that has not received too much attention in philosophy of mind. It inquires about specific issues of memory that have received no attention at all, and it makes use of ideas from different philosophical traditions.

Additionally it appeals to a various range of arguments, including experimental and introspective evidence to justify his claims. Probably the reader is familiar with the psychological-continuity views of personal identity that privileges memory as the essential factor for personhood: as Locke explained, as long as an individual possesses memories, the one remembering and the one remembered are the same person. Nonetheless, this quite intuitive conceptualization of personal identity presents some problems widely known in philosophical literature, such as the problem of circularity: how can memory explain personal identity if it presupposes personal identity?

Besides these more metaphysical questions that go beyond the scope of the book, there are other common sense considerations that cast doubt on the explanatory role of the memory criterion for accounting for personal identity. Mom still enjoys gentle joking and teasing, as she always has. She still enjoys being around people, still beams radiantly at small children when she sees them, still enjoys the give and take of conversation. And in fact, this opinion seems to be shared by most of us: according to an empirical study done by Jesse Prinz and Shaun Nichols , people in general consider that the loss of memories does not threaten the identity of a person, in comparison with a change of moral values that is considered to have a devastating impact on it.


So our ordinary understanding of the basis of the continuity and unity of our identity over time gives us two ideas that in principle are contradictory. On the one hand, we think that the loss of memories of past experiences does not undermine personal identity; but on the other hand, we also have the intuition that memories play a certain important role in making us who we are.

In Memory and the Self , Rowlands provides a clever, original—and also poetic—response that makes these two ideas compatible: memory makes us who we are even if, like Patsy Hasset, we have lost our memories, because memories of past experiences can persist and continue to shape our personhood when these past experiences have been forgotten, that is, when the content of our memories has disappeared. As we shall see later, Rilkean memories refer to behavioural and bodily dispositions, feelings, moods and sensations, which have arisen from episodic memories but which have lost their contents and have become pure mental acts.

The characterisation of Rilkean memories and the investigation of its role in the construction and continuity of personal identity over time led Rowlands to accomplish another important task: to reconfigure our understanding of the structure of memory. Whereas a traditional analytical philosopher understands a memory as a mental representation with a tripartite structure composed of an act, an object and a mode of presentation, Rowlands proposes a four-constituent model of memory, in which a the act of remembering is of fundamental importance to understand the structure of a memory experience; b the intentional object, that is, the episode remembered that exists independently of the act of remembering , is different from the content of a memory; and c the act, the content and the mode of presentation are conceptually distinguishable but inseparable: the content of a memory exists when the act of remembering operates certain transformations on the episode remembered and presents it in a certain mode.

The mineness is one essential mode in which the episode remembered is presented, and this is what explains the undeniable presence of the self in every memory of our past experiences. Therefore, a novel explanation of the way that memories make us who we are as well as a novel explanation of the structure of memory are the two major accomplishments that Rowlands intends to achieve in Memory and the Self.

It remains to be seen and evaluated how the author develops these explanations through his book and how both of them are linked together. Phenomenology, and the autobiographical self.

Husserl Logical Investigations

On one hand, Rowlands remarks chapter 1 that whereas analytical philosophy and cognitive science have always privileged the mental content over the mental act to account for cognitive states, the phenomenological tradition has done exactly the contrary: it has privileged the study of mental acts as acts without objectifying them, in order to understand the preconditions of our experiences. Mental content, appearences in phenomenological terms, are only studied to get to the act.

Rowlands considers essential the recovery and privileged role of the act of remembering in order to understand memory, develop a workable conception of memory content and make sense of the idea that memories make us who we are. On the other hand, Rowlands makes another use of the phenomenological method to delineate his conceptualization of the notion of self. Whereas in philosophy most concerns about the self are part of a metaphysical project that tries to understand the nature of personhood, its essential properties, its persistence through time, etc.

If someone asks us how we would define our own self, we would probably answer her by describing our beliefs about ourselves, our values, our attitudes, our desires, etc. This description would probably be different if we were asked the same question at a different time. The idea that there are multiple selves and that each of them refers to a particular configuration of our self-knowledge at a particular time is not new.

In psychology, this is a common conception of a self. The psychologist Martin Conway, for example, considers that the self refers to conceptual self-structures that are not temporally specified, such as self-schemas, self-scripts, possible selves, self-images, self-with-other units, relational schemas, attitudes, values and other self-beliefs , This conception of the self constitutes a good workable notion—and a good strategy—that allows any theorist to make use of a notion of self and at the same time to set aside all the metaphysical questions related to the self that would require an entirely different kind of research.

I used it myself for this purpose. Nonetheless, Rowlands goes beyond this idea and supposes that there is a self that transcends these empirical and multiple configurations of the self. I have trouble understanding how this notion of autobiographical self, which is in certain way a sort of Kantian self, and thus a transcendental self, can explain the unity of the self and its distinctness from other selves Rowlands, , p.

I think that the practical solution to avoid a metaphysical inquiry, would be to just state as I did that these episodes of self-understanding or configurations of self-knowledge constitute parts of the same human being, and that they are interconnected between them because the physical continuity of the human being assures some degree of psychological continuity.

This strategy does not suggest, as Rowlands does, that the principle or structure from which all the different episodes of understanding emerge is itself a self. Rowlands should have said more about the autobiographical self to prevent their readers from thinking that he is actually engaged in a metaphysical explanation of the self even if he explicitly denies it. Maybe Rowlands introduced this unitary notion of self in order to account for the unfolding characteristic of memory between a self who remembers what a former self experienced. According to Rowlands, the autobiographical self is not the same as the narrative self and entirely rescinds from the question of whether the self has a narrative structure Rowlands, , pp.

Nonetheless, the autobiographical self is compatible with narrative accounts of self-understanding that conceive that the self who remembers adopts the position of narrator with respect to the self that originally experienced. Rowlands calls them R-self and W-self respectively. Both of them are conceptually distinguishable but not ultimately separable, because both of them—the self that is written and the self who reads what is written—form the autobiographical self. But once again, we do not need to suppose a transcendental self to explain the essential unfolding of the self that characterizes memory.

Neither do we need to understand this unfolding of the self in narrative terms. We can forget about narrative and about any transcendental conception of the self, and simply state that a present self, that is nothing more than a particular configuration of self-knowledge at a given time, can have access to previous selves and their experiences because they all belong to the same human being. The numerical continuity and the degree of psychological continuity implied in the fact of belonging to the same human being would guarantee the access to some extent to past configurations of self-knowledge and past experiences, and thus the unfolding of the self and the possibility of self-reflection through time that are characteristic of memory.

Rilkean memories and episodic and autobiographical memories. After a first chapter that constitutes a condensed summary of all the ideas developed in the book—which deserves a second reading after finishing the book, in order to get a better picture of the whole—, the next two chapters 2 and 3 are focused on the characterization of Rilkean memories. In a certain way, Rowlands forces the readers to accept the existence of Rilkean memories: how will the explanatory work they do establish their existence if their characterization is conceived in a way that they could successfully accomplish this explanatory work?

In any case, this tricky argument is not so relevant; readers avid of understanding embodied and affective phenomena neglected in cognitive science and philosophy of mind, will become immediately sympathetic to the idea of Rilkean memories. Furthermore, there are examples of Rilkean memories in literature and poetry, and it is also easy to think of everyday cases. Embodied Rilkean memories refer to patterns of behavioural as well as bodily dispositions inscribed in the body that originated in the past: a curvature of the spine and a consequent back pain that originated in successive episodes of bad posture while writing as a child, a tendency to talk in a very loud voice during a normal conversation originated in successive episodes of conversation with parents who speak too loudly, are personal examples of embodied Rilkean memories.

Affective Rilkean memories make reference to sensations, feelings and moods strongly environmentally embedded, which have a very low probability of occurring without the requisite environment. The famous episode of la madeleine de Proust , the nostalgia that arises when walking around our hometown left a long time ago, are cases of Rilkean affective memories.

Rilkean memories can exclusively arise from memories that are person specific in order to play a role in the constitution of the person and, as Rowlands argues, only episodic memories are sufficiently specific to their subject. The same procedural memories, semantic memories, even semantic autobiographical memories, could be in principle possessed by two different people. So Rilkean memories, Rowlands concludes, can only arise from episodic memories.

While reflecting on the characterization of Rilkean memories, Rowlands introduces a new and original conceptualization of episodic memory. Episodic memories cannot either be understood as an adverbial modification of the act of remembering: relocating the experiential qualities of episodic memory to the act of remembering threatens the distinction between episodic memory and semantic memory I can remember a fact angrily and cannot explain the contradictory experiential qualities that may exist between the act of remembering and what is remembered I can remember with joy a sad episode.

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I am quite sympathetic to both ideas: that Rilkean memories arise from episodic memories and that the self-involvement or the presence of the self in the content of memories is what makes memories episodic. First of all, he dismisses semantic autobiographical memories as a starting point of Rilkean memories because even if unlikely, it is perfectly conceivable that two different people could possess the same semantic autobiographical memories and have forgotten the other ones that would distinguish one person from the other.

So because this situation is possible, semantic autobiographical memories are not considered to be sufficiently specific to the subject. The problem with the use of this kind of hypothetical scenario is that we could easily conceive of a similar scenario about episodic memories and thus come to the conclusion that episodic memories are not sufficiently specific. We could think about identical twins—who in general have a significant amount of experiences in common—who exclusively remember the episodes experienced together.

In this hypothetical case, episodic memories would not be sufficiently specific to distinguish the two identical twins. In the hypothetical episodic memory scenario, what would be sufficiently person specific and would allow us to distinguish the identical twins is not the fact that these episodes are remembered as formerly witnessed, orchestrated or encountered by the rememberer, but the fact that they are remembered as episodes that formerly affected the rememberer in terms of harms, benefits, morality or self-image, and that this affection of the event—which is person specific—is part of the content of the memory see Trakas, There is less unlikely that identical twins could only remember the events that both have witnessed, orchestrated and encountered, than they could remember these same events under the same affective tone.

Episodic memory is a controversial notion, very much used in psychological research, but not very well defined. The point that Rowlands makes about the specificity of episodic memory indubitably marks a novel way of thinking about the nature of episodic memory that is very promising. But it needs further development. Semantic autobiographical memories that are originated from a process of semantization of episodic memories very characteristic of older adults , differ from episodic memories at least in the neural substrates and mechanisms and in their phenomenology, but they are also remembered as episodes formerly witnessed, orchestrated or encountered by the rememberer.

I previously suggested that in an episodic memory we remember episodes or people, or places, etc. This affection can explicitly be attended to as the intentional object of my memory, or we can be aware of it in a pre-attentive or pre-reflective way; it can take the form of interoceptive bodily sensations, action tendencies or language, and it can refer to a past affection or to a present and occurrent one.

According to my view, it is this affection that makes of memories episodic memories—and that is at the origin of the metacognitive phenomenology that is characteristic of episodic memory—and it is this affection that makes of my episodic memories uniquely mine. More should be explored in this line, because it clearly seems that the presence of the self is an excellent alternative to the current views to characterize the specificity of episodic memory.

In chapter 8, Rowlands argues that the presence of the self is a necessary and sufficient condition for a memory to count as an episodic. I have tried to explain before, through the example of semantic autobiographical memories that are the product of a process of semantization of episodic memories, why the presence of the self characterized as a mode of presentation where the episode is remembered as one that the rememberer has formerly witnessed, orchestrated or otherwise encountered, does not seem sufficient for a memory to qualify as episodic.

Nonetheless, the arguments that Rowlands presents to defend the necessity of the presence of the self in an episodic memory are very convincing. First, we could think that the presence of the self is not necessary because non-human animals have episodic memories but neither engage in self-reflective thought nor have a self-concept. Rowlands argues that none of them is necessary for the self to be present in a memory, and that a feeling of familiarity could perfectly account for it.

In fact, the thesis that non-human animals have episodic memories is quite controversial, and Rowlands should have mentioned it to reinforce his point. But it is not the case: or this is an example of attenuation and not of loss of the sense of ownership, argues Rowlands, or else these memories are not episodic. As he correctly points out, in the absence of the presence of the self in episodic memory, there is nothing to distinguish episodic memories from semantic memories. Therefore, Rowlands gives compelling arguments to assert the necessity of the presence of the self in episodic memories, whereas his arguments for its sufficiency in a certain way fail, because his interpretation of the meaning of the presence of the self in episodic memories is not sufficient to distinguish them from semantic autobiographical memories.

Before coming back to the characterization of Rilkean memories, I would like to mention an interesting distinction that Rowlands draws concerning autobiographical memory, which should be considered while theorizing about this notion. Autobiographical memory is another notion very much used in psychological research, but again not very well defined. Broadly understood, it refers to a subsystem that includes some episodic memories and different facts about the self including semantic memories.

Rowlands proposes to distinguish three types of autobiographical memories according to their intentional objects: a strongly autobiographical memories: the memory contains the rememberer as the intentional object of the memory, and is thus about something that happened to the rememberer I remember I travelled to Greece or I remember I was born the 15th February , b weakly autobiographical memories: the rememberer is not the intentional object, but is implicated in the mode of presentation of the intentional object of the memory, and is thus about something that she witnessed or encountered I remember the flight to Greece took off 5 hours later than scheduled ; c minimally autobiographical memories: these memories, which have no intentional object, are autobiographical because they are the descendant of a memory that is at least weakly autobiographical.

While episodic and semantic memories can be strongly autobiographical, only episodic memories can be weakly autobiographical—only episodic memories can include the self in their mode of presentation—and only Rilkean memories can be minimally autobiographical. This distinction allows Rowlands to give a minimal definition of embodied and affective Rilkean memories: Rilkean memories are involuntary memories that have no intentional content and are minimally autobiographical because they derive from episodic memories, when their content has been forgotten and only the act of remembering persists.

This definition is given in chapter 3, after a series of arguments that convincingly show why Rilkean memories cannot be conceived as Freudian memories, nor procedural memories, nor declarative memories, nor semantic memories, nor episodic memories, nor explicit memories, nor implicit memories. More about episodic memories: their structure. In the next section, I will come back to Rilkean memories, and to their importance for the unity and identity of the self.

In this section, I will focus on the characterisation of the structure of episodic memory developed by Rowlands in chapters 8 and 9. In the introduction, I already anticipated that Rowlands reconfigures the traditional understanding of the structure of memory by proposing a four-constituent model of episodic memory: intentional object, content, mode of presentation and act.

In his model, the intentional object is different from the content, and the mode of presentation and act of remembering are conceptually distinguishable but inseparable. These two ideas are the key theses defended by Rowlands in order to change the traditional conceptualization of episodic memory that is characterized by the standard tripartite model of intentionality and the two-model of meaning. The list of differences could be developed episodic memories can essentially change over time whereas photographs do not, etc.

The content of our episodic memories is always presented to us as something, under a mode of presentation, and this mode of presentation is not externally attached to the content, but is essentially built into it. When I remember the face of my father, I remember this face as the face of my father, and not as a visual image of a face whose appearance needs a subsequent act of interpretation to determine that it is a memory and that it is the face of my father. It may be the case that I cannot remember whose face it is, but if I have a memory experience I remember the face at least as a face that belongs to someone I previously saw.

For Rowlands, in an episodic memory, meaning and reference are thus not added in a subsequent phase to the presentation of the content to the mind, but are an intrinsic part of it, entangled with it. The meaning and reference includes not only the meaning and reference that is specific to a particular memory content, but also the meaning and reference that is given in every episodic memory: the pastness and the presence of the self who remembers. The meaning and reference is given to the episode remembered, which is not inherently interpreted, when the act of remembering performs on it certain operations of transformation that present the episode remembered under different modes of presentation.

These modes of presentation which are characterized by Rowlands as complex combinations of perception, cognition, emotion and sensation not only individuate the memory and, more importantly, render the presence of the self a necessary feature of it, but also give rise to memory content. The content of an episodic memory is thus created by the act of remembering. Whereas the intentional object of memory, that is, the episode remembered, is a state-of-affairs independent of the act of remembering, which only plays a passive causal role in the origin of our memories, the memory content is what is available to our consciousness.

It is what one can discern and have access to when one remembers, and it is the product of a constructive and active process of remembering.

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Husserl, however, tends to group emotions as belonging to feeling. As the schematism chapter makes clear, the synthetic activity of the transcendental imagination relates not to concrete empirical individuals but rather to general forms of experience. Naturally, the constituents are meant just as the object appears through the perception, as the object appears to stand in the perception itself; the constituents meant are not such as belong to the object existing in "Objective reality," such as would be ascertained only subsequently in experience, cognition, science. Strasser Husserliana I. Only quite small parts of temporal successions and extensions can be surveyed in one glance, in a Phenomenology and imagination in husserl and heidegger 10 momentary intuition; and so only quite small parts of a melody can be intuited at any moment.

This later distinction is not new, but has a long tradition—recently recovered but neglected for many years— that goes back at least to the introduction of the notion of intentionality in contemporary philosophy made by Franz Brentano. It was also more explicitly applied to the understanding of memory phenomena by Bertrand Russell and Charlie Broad All of them, in different ways and with different terminology, defended the existence of a difference between the object of a mental act and its content.

I personally got back to this rich tradition and proposed a representationalist account of personal memories based on this distinction Trakas I found it a bit disappointing that Rowlands did not mention the origin of this distinction in his book, although I understand that historical references sometimes may cut the argumentative fluidity. Nonetheless, a small footnote would not have done any harm, and it would have been a nice initiative to recognize the often forgotten rich ideas that precede us and still influence us in many ways.

Rowlands justifies the need of this distinction by means of three convincing arguments. If the memory content were identical with the episode remembered:. The only way to assure the mentality of the content is to distinguish the state-of-affairs from the content and adopt the view that the content is brought into existence by a process of transformation operated by the mental act on the state-of-affairs;. States-of-affairs and memory content must be different because their standards of individuation are different: a mental act narrows the standard of individuation of mental content by subsuming one or more constituents of a state-of-affairs object, property under different modes of presentation;.

The only way to render necessary the presence of the self and thus episodically remember an episode is to impose on that episode one or more modes of presentation. This process of transformation creates mental content, which is different from the episode. I have also given some arguments in favour of the distinction between object and content even if I used different terms , focused on the possible discrepancies between the content and the object of the same personal memory Trakas, , p.

The arguments that Rowlands gives are nonetheless persuasive and sufficient by themselves to convince the readers of the need for this conceptual distinction. What is more, his explanation along these two chapters shows the inseparability that is characteristic of the act of remembering, the memory content and the mode of presentation, as well as the key role played by the act of remembering in the construction of our episodic memories: it is finally the act of remembering which is responsible for the mentality, the individuation and the ownership of the remembered content.

Before coming back to Rilkean memories, I would like to make a comment about a remark made by Rowlands. According to our author, his conception of content must not be understood as something that stands between the subject and the episode, but simply as a way or mode of remembering an episode. Like other authors, Rowlands couples a representationalist conceptualization of memory to a direct realism theory of memory. I profoundly believe not only in the incompatibility of these two conceptions of memory, but also in the impossibility of defending a direct realist view of memory.

Direct realist accounts of memory cannot accommodate the existence of memory traces and fail to explain the fallibility and change that characterize our memory representations. They also fail to give a criterion to distinguish between immediate acquaintance in perception and immediate acquaintance in memory Trakas, , pp.

Memory researchers would do better to abandon the idea that memory allows us to be in direct and immediate contact with the past and to ask, instead, how a capacity that does not allow us to be in direct contact with the past can nevertheless produce reliable representations of the past. In this last section I focus on chapters 5, 6, 7 and 10, chapters where Rowlands develops the role that Rilkean memories—these memories that have no content and are pure act—play in making us who we are. Nonetheless, the endemic inaccuracy and the forgetting of episodic memories compromise the identity of the person over time and thus threatens the role played by episodic memory in the explanation of the unity and identity of the metaphysical self.

On the contrary, the endemic inaccuracy and the forgetting of memories is not a threat for the autobiographical self, neither from a first person point of view that is, the self-experience of unity and identity nor from a third person point of view the recognition of the unity and identity of another self.

Rowlands considers them as self-constructing opportunities that can play a positive role in the constitution of a person. Rowlands asserts the endemic unreliability of memory based on empirical studies on false memories like studies on flashbulb memories as well as on memory reconsolidation that, according to our author, would explain why most of our memories are unreliable: every time we access a memory trace, it returns to the unstable and labile state characteristic of short-term memory, and becomes thus sensitive to change.

Rowlands rightly recognizes that the notions of accuracy and inaccuracy conceived as a spectrum are better suited to characterize memories than the notion of truth and falsity, but he still holds that inaccuracy is endemic to memory. This is a surprising conceptualization for someone who proposed to conceive the epistemic values of memories in terms of a spectrum of accuracy versus inaccuracy.

Third, I do believe that people who think that memory is endemically unreliable are wrong. Instead of looking at empirical studies on false memories, we would do better to look at our everyday functioning and the way it would be affected if a large number of our memories would be unreliable: not only could we not successfully navigate the physical and social world, but probably we could not even have evolved as we did. Most of our everyday actions are guided by semantic as well as episodic memories, and a human being with an unreliable memory system would be very different from what we are; maybe she will not even be human.

Anthropological studies take time and are not often practiced to study psychological phenomena, but they would be of great help to provide empirical data on the reliability of the human memory system s. In any case, it remains to be seen how the endemic inaccuracy and the forgetting of memories can be self-constructive for the autobiographical self. If confabulations can present some benefits for the confabulator at least she has a story to tell to herself about who she is , it remains an open question as to whether confabulations are as self-constructive as real memories.

The case of forgetting is analysed with more detail, in a specific and interesting chapter about this notion chapter 5. Passive forgetting memory decay over time compromise the memory-based version of the metaphysical explanation of the self and also plays a negative role in the construction of the autobiographical self by unbalancing the story of who we are, or making us repeat old mistakes.

Nonetheless, active forgetting, that is, the conscious and unconscious engagement in a process of forgetting, plays a positive role in the construction of the autobiographical self: it allows us to forget the useless—in order to release cognitive resources—and to forget the pernicious. Furthermore, active projects of forgetting, which can include the explicit manipulation of the environment in order to facilitate or scaffold the process of forgetting like destroying photographs , say a lot about the person you are.

But there is a more pervasive and primitive process of forgetting than active forgetting, which does not require the existence of an autobiographical self who conducts the forgetting, but plays a significant role in the development and preservation of the autobiographical self. This primitive, passive but positive process of forgetting memory content refers to the process that originates in Rilkean memories. Rowlands compares Rilkean memories to literary style to understand this analogy, it is worth mentioning that Rilkean memories are pure acts of remembering, without content.

If we find a couple of disconnected pages of a book, the style of these pages combined with the remaining content can be sufficient to establish or at least suggest the identity of the author. The same applies to Rilkean memories. Rilkean memories connect the person to her past and provides a form of continuity between the person who has the Rilkean memories and the person who had their episodic ancestor.

That is why Rilkean memories play a key role in the recognition of the unity and identity of a person made by a third party. For Taylor, her mother was the same person as before, because she could still recognize her existential style, that is, her particular way of being, acting and feeling: her mother was still a cheerful and affectionate person, who still enjoyed gentle joking and teasing, being around people and having a conversation, and who also still beamed radiantly at small children. Rilkean memories are finally what justify third person recognition judgements.

Rilkean memories solve then the puzzle of the unity and identity of a person from a third point of view, that is, the puzzle of the recognition of another person. But there is a still another puzzle: the problem of explaining the self-experience of unity and identity, that is, the way in which the present self R-self experiences a past self W-self as a unified individual, identical with herself.

According to Rowlands, Rilkean memories are also the key to solve this puzzle, but they do not feature as what they are—Rilkean memories—but as what they were before becoming Rilkean memories: as episodic memories. She is in her memories not simply because she has carved or shaped them from the block of the episode. Rather, it is because she had to do this in order to make them something that could be remembered. The content of memory is always infused with the person who remembered and where she is in her life. The content of memory is, in this sense, infused with style.

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It is infused with, and therefore shaped by, the act of remembering … Style and content may eventually go their separate ways—this is what happens when a Rilkean memory is formed. But before this happens, the two are entangled. Therefore, because the autobiographical self is present in each and every one of the episodic memories that collectively form the record of her life, the self who remembers R-self experiences herself as a unified individual identical with any of her past selves W-self. Memory and the Self is an excellent book on memory, with a highly sophisticated dose of philosophical content and literary style.

However, I must admit that at the end of the book I was slightly disappointed. The main purpose of the book is to introduce the notion of Rilkean memories and explain the key role they play in maintaining the unity and identity of the autobiographical self. Nonetheless, from the first-person recognition perspective, Rilkean memories finally do not play any role; episodic memories do all the work. Saying, as Rowlands does, that Rilkean memories play such an important role because they were episodic memories before becoming Rilkean memories, does not help to assign a real role to Rilkean memories in the self-experience of identity and unity.

Although one derives from the other, Rilkean memories and episodic memories are very different. Furthermore, episodic memories do not necessarily become Rilkean memories. Rilkean memories do play a key role from the third-person recognition perspective. However, when analysing these cases, we realize that what allows us to recognize someone as the same unified individual identical through time is nothing more than different kinds of habits and character traits.

Rilkean memories are finally nothing more than environmental embedded habits and character traits. Rowlands is aware that Rilkean memories may not be a new, non-standard form of memory, but just the product of a process of transformation of episodic memories Rowlands, , p.

In spite of this small disappointment that other readers may share with me, Memory and the Self is a very pleasant book to read that truly deserves to be read, reread, and discussed by those interested in philosophy of mind and in memory. Bernstein D. How to tell if a particular memory is true or false. Perspectives on Psychological Science , 4 4 , Broad, C. The mind and its place in nature. Conway M. Remembering, Imagining, False Memories and Meaning. Consciousness and Cognition , 33, Klein, S.

Memory and the sense of personal identity. Mind , , The two selves: Their metaphysical commitments and functional independence. New York, Oxford University Press. Locke, J. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. McCormack, T. Attributing episodic memory to animals and children. Hoerl Ed.