A natural view of testimony holds that a source's statements provide one with evidence about what the source believes, which in turn provides one with evidence about what is true. But some theorists have gone further and developed a broadly analogous view of memory. According to this view, which this essay calls the “diary model,” one's memory ordinarily serves as a means for one's present self to gain evidence about one's past judgments, and in turn about the truth. This essay rejects the diary model's analogy between memory and testimony from one's former self, arguing first that memory and a diary differ with respect to their psychological roles, and second that this psychological difference underwrites important downstream epistemic differences. The resulting view stands opposed to prominent discussions of memory and testimony, which either, like the diary model, treat memory by analogy to what we naively wish to say about testimony, or which instead attempt to extend to testimony the epistemically preservative role of memory.
David James Barnett; Is Memory Merely Testimony from One's Former Self?. The Philosophical Review 1 July 2015; 124 (3): 353–392. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00318108-2895337
Download citation file: