ANZSRC / FoR Code
1702 COGNITIVE SCIENCE, 1799 OTHER PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES, 2203 PHILOSOPHY
Bachelor of Western Civilisation (Honours)
School of Liberal Arts
In the current literature on Episodic Memory (EM), mental representations are often assumed to stand out as the main view that promises to explain how we experience past personal events. However, proponents of Radical Enactive Cognition (REC) have argued that this view is empirically and theoretically inadequate due to issues with misremembering - failure to recall events in the past accurately - and the Hard Problem of Content (HPC) (Hutto & Myin 2013, 2017). This thesis aims to utilise REC’s already established framework and narrative formulations of memory to provide the tools needed to characterise episodic memory. The thesis turns to Narrativist Accounts (Gallagher 2008, 2003; Gallagher & Hutto 2008; Hutto 2016, Nelson & Fivush 2004; Rudd 2012; Schechtman 1996) and takes notice of the various capacities and requirements needed under these views and how they can serve as a model that can account for EM. However, under a Narrativist Account (NA), episodic memory is always embedded within autobiographical narratives. This raises the question of whether NAs can make room for any kind of episodic memory when conditions such as coherence, temporality and achievement of specific narrative capacities are required. By drawing from research on Dementia, Alzheimer’s, PTSD and Depression, along with non-pathological scenarios, this thesis demonstrates that stronger and moderate narrativist accounts do not provide room for explaining episodic memory. l propose that episodic experiences of the personal past can be seen in a different light when understood as Micronarratives. Micronarratives are marked out by being fixed or resistant to updating while identifying with a particular event in the past, even if it is not in the form of an accurate or true description. l defend that episodic memory, in this view, is not confronted with the same problems and offers a viable alternative.
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.