A New Model of Memory: Representational Success and Representational Change

Rebecca Copenhaver, WashU

Since Bernecker (2010, 2015) philosophers of memory have thought about memory accuracy in terms of truth (fidelity to the event remembered) and authenticity (fidelity to the past experience of the event). I propose a new model. I propose to replace the notion of memory accuracy with the more expansive notion of representational success. What about authenticity? I propose we replace authenticity with the evaluatively neutral category of representational change. Unlike authenticity, representational change is not a success condition, it is not an evaluative standard. Authenticity treats representational change as a memory failure. But representational change is not the result of something going wrong in memory. It is not even a lamentable side-effect. Memory processes are processes of representational change. Memory makes information available by changing it, making it available for use in thought and action.