Attitudes and the (dis)continuity between memory and imagination




memory, imagination, continuism, discontinuism, causal theory, simulation theory


The current dispute between causalists and simulationists in philosophy of memory has led to opposing attempts to characterize the relationship between memory and imagination. In a recent overview of this debate, Perrin and Michaelian (2017) have suggested that the dispute over the (dis)continuity between memory and imagination boils down to the question of whether a causal connection to a past event is necessary for remembering. By developing an argument based on an analogy to perception, I argue that this dispute should instead be viewed as a dispute about the nature of the attitudes involved in remembering and imagining. The focus on attitudes, rather than on causal connections, suggests a new way of conceiving of the relationship between memory and imagination that has been overlooked in recent philosophy of memory.

= 1804 veces | PDF
= 117 veces| | HTML
= 16 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

André Sant'Anna, Washington University in St. Louis

Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Philosophy and the Philosophy-Neuro- science-Psychology Program at Washington University in St. Louis.


Addis, D. R. (2018). Are episodic memories special? on the sameness of remembered and imagined event simulation. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 48(2-3): 64–88.

Addis, D. R. (2020). Mental time travel? A neurocognitive model of event simulation. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 11, 233–259.

Addis, D. R., Wong, A. T. & Schacter, D. L. (2007). Remembering the past and imagining the future: common and distinct neural substrates during event construction and elaboration. Neuropsychologia, 45(7), 1363–1377.

Bernecker, S. (2010). Memory: a philosophical study. Oxford University Press.

Burge, T. (1991). Vision and intentional content. In E. Lepore & R. van Gulick (Eds.), John Searle and his critics (pp. 195–214). Blackwell.

Byrne, A. (2001). Intentionalism defended. Philosophical Review, 110(2), 199–240.

Byrne, A. (2009). Experience and content. The Philosophical Quarterly, 59(236), 429–451.

Crane, T. (2009). Is perception a propositional attitude? The Philosophical Quarterly, 59(236), 452–469.

Currie, G. & Ravenscroft, I. (2002). Recreative minds: imagination in philosophy and psychology. Oxford University Press.

De Brigard, F. (2014a). Is memory for remembering? Recollection as a form of episodic hypothetical thinking. Synthese, 191(2), 155–185.

De Brigard, F. (2014b). The nature of memory traces. Philosophy Compass, 9(6), 402–414.

De Brigard, F. (2017). Memory and imagination. In S. Bernecker & K. Michaelian (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory (pp. 127–140). Routledge.

De Brigard, F. & Gessell, B. (2016). Time is not of the essence: Understanding the neural correlates of mental time travel. In K. Michaelian, S. B. Klein & K. K. Szpunar (Eds.), Seeing the future: theoretical perspectives on future-oriented mental time travel (pp. 153–179). Oxford University Press.

Debus, D. (2008). Experiencing the past: a relational account of recollective memory. Dialéctica, 62(4), 405–432.

Debus, D. (2010). Accounting for epistemic relevance: a new problem for the causal theory of memory. American Philosophical Quarterly, 47(1), 17–29.

Debus, D. (2014). ‘Mental time travel’: remembering the past, imagining the future, and the particularity of events. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 5(3), 333–350.

Dokic, J. (2001). Is memory purely preservative? In C. Hoerl & T. McCormack (Eds.), Time and memory: issues in philosophy and psychology (pp. 213–232). Oxford University Press.

Dokic, J. (2014). Feeling the past: a two-tiered account of episodic memory. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 5(3), 413–426.

Fernández, J. (2018). The functional character of memory. In K. Michaelian, D. Debus & D. Perrin (Eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory (pp. 52–72). Routledge.

Fernández, J. (2019). Memory: a self-Referential account. Oxford University Press.

Fodor, J. (1978). Propositional attitudes. The Monist, 61(4), 501-523.

Frise, M. (2015). Epistemology of memory. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Hazlett, A. (2010). The myth of factive verbs. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 80(3),497–522.

Hopkins, R. (2018). Imagining the past: on the nature of episodic memory. In F. MacPherson & F. Dorsch (Ed.), Perceptual Imagination and Perceptual Memory. Oxford University Press.

Hutto, D. D. & Myin, E. (2017). Evolving enactivism: basic minds meet content. MIT Press.

Langland-Hassan, P. (2015). Imaginative attitudes. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 90(3), 664–686.

Langland-Hassan, P. (2021). What sort of imagining might remembering be? Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 7(2), 231-51.

Liao, S.-Y. & Gendler, T. (2019). Imagination. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.

Mahr, J. B. (2020). The dimensions of episodic simulation. Cognition, 196, 104085.

Mahr, J. B. & Csibra, G. (2018). Why do we remember? The communicative function of episodic memory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41.

Martin, C. B. & Deutscher, M. (1966). Remembering. Philosophical Review, 75(2), 161–96. https://

Michaelian, K. (2011). Generative memory. Philosophical Psychology, 24(3), 323–342. https://

Michaelian, K. (2016a). Against discontinuism: mental time travel and our knowledge of past and future events. In K. Michaelian, S. B. Klein & K. K. Szpunar (Eds.), Seeing the future: theoretical perspectives on future-oriented mental time travel (pp. 62–92). Oxford University Press.

Michaelian, K. (2016b). Mental time travel: episodic memory and our knowledge of the personal past. MIT Press.

Michaelian, K., Perrin, D. & Sant’Anna, A. (2020). Continuities and discontinuities between imagination and memory: the view from philosophy. In A. Abraham (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of imagination. Cambridge University Press.

Michaelian, K. & Robins, S. K. (2018). Beyond the causal theory? Fifty years after Martin and Deutscher. In K. Michaelian, D. Debus, & D. Perrin (Ed.), New directions in the philosophy of memory (pp. 13–32). Routledge.

Munro, D. (2020). Remembering the past and imagining the actual. Review of Philosophy and Psychology. Online ahead of print.

Nanay, B. (2015). Perceptual content and the content of mental imagery. Philosophical Studies, 172(7), 1723–1736.

Perner, J. & Ruffman, T. (1995). Episodic memory and autonoetic aonciousness: developmental evidence and a theory of childhood amnesia. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 59, 516–548.

Perrin, D. (2016). Asymmetries in subjective time. In K. Michaelian, S. B. Klein & K. K Szpunar, (Eds.), Seeing the future: theoretical perspectives on future-oriented mental time travel (pp. 39–61). Oxford University Press. so/9780190241537.003.0003

Perrin, D. & Michaelian, K. (2017). Memory as mental time travel. In S. Bernecker & K. Michaelian (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of philosophy of memory (pp. 228–239). Routledge.

Perrin, D., Michaelian, K. & Sant’Anna, A. (2020). The phenomenology of remembering is an epistemic feeling. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1531.

Robins, S. K. (2016). Representing the past: memory traces and the causal theory of memory. Philosophical Studies, 173(11), 2993–3013.

Robins, S. K. (2017). Memory traces. In S. Bernecker & K. Michaelian (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of philosophy of memory (pp. 76–87). Routledge.

Robins, S. K. (2020). Defending discontinuism, naturally. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 11, 469–486.

Sant’Anna, A. (2020). The hybrid contents of memory. Synthese 197, 1263–1290.

Sant’Anna, A., Michaelian, D. & Perrin, D. (2020). Editorial: memory as mental time travel. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 11, 223–232.

Schacter, D. L., Addis, D. R. & Buckner, R. L. (2007). Remembering the past to imagine the future: the prospective brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8(9), 657–661.

Schacter, D. L., Addis, D. R., Hassabis, D., Martin, V. C., Spreng, R. N. & Szpunar, K. K. (2012). The future of memory: remembering, imagining, and the brain. Neuron, 76(4), 677–694.

Schellenberg, S. (2010). The particularity and phenomenology of perceptual experience. Philosophical Studies, 149(1), 19–48.

Schellenberg, S. (2018). The unity of perception: content, consciousness, evidence. Oxford University Press.

Searle, J. R. (1983). Intentionality: an essay in the philosophy of mind. Cambridge University Press.

Shanton, K. & Goldman, A. (2010). Simulation theory. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews, Cognitive Science, 1(4), 527–538.

Siegel, S. (2010). The contents of visual experiences. Oxford University Press.

Soteriou, M. (2000). The particularity of visual experience. European Journal of Philosophy, 8(2), 173–89.

Sutton, J. (1998). Philosophy and memory traces: Descartes to connectionism. Cambridge University Press.

Tulving, E. (1993). What is episodic memory? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2(3), 67–70.

Tulving, E. (2002). Episodic memory: from mind to brain. Annual Review of Psychology, 53(1), 1–25.

Tulving, E. (2005). Episodic memory and autonoesis: uniquely human? In H. S. Terrace & J. Metcalfe (Eds.), The missing link in cognition: origins of self-reflective consciousness (pp. 3–56). Oxford University Press.

Tye, M. (2000). Consciousness, color, and content. MIT Pres.

Van Leeuwen, N. (2013). The meanings of “imagine”, part 1: constructive imagining. Philosophy Compass, 8, 220–230.

Werning, M. (2020). Predicting the past from minimal traces: episodic memory and its distinction from imagination and preservation. Review of philosophy and psychology, 11, 301-333.




How to Cite

Sant’Anna, A. (2021). Attitudes and the (dis)continuity between memory and imagination. Estudios De Filosofía, (64), 73–93.



Original or Research articles

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.