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Consciousness and Memory

The CEU Campus
Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Human episodic memory organizes information reliably and in a temporally unified fashion. This crucial epistemic role seems to be the core function of memory. Episodic memory has tradeoffs concerning accuracy and storage, which I describe in this talk. Although its epistemic functions are flexible enough to accommodate contextuality and imagery, these functions are best understood as epistemic in nature. I propose that this epistemic role is not the sole purpose of memory. A different tradeoff for narrative requires a memory function that operates independently of this epistemic role, and it is critical for phenomenally conscious memory. I explain how the distinction between phenomenal and access consciousness is useful to better understand these distinct roles. Since this narrative function seems to be part of the proper functioning of memory, it also justifies and further clarifies the distinction between episodic and autobiographical memory.

The talk will be livestreamd at