Memory and reflection


  • Chienkuo Mi Soochow University



Memory, Virtue Epistemology, Reflection


I have argued that the Analects of Confucius presents us with a conception of reflection with two components, a retrospective component and a perspective component. The former component involves hindsight or careful examination of the past and as such draws on previous learning or memory and previously formed beliefs to avoid error. The latter component is foresight, or forward looking, and as such looks to existing beliefs and factors in order to achieve knowledge. In this paper, I raise the problem of forgetting and argue that most of contemporary theories of knowledge have to face the problem and deal with the challenge seriously. In order to solve the problem, I suggest a bi-level virtue epistemology which can provide us with the best outlook for the problem-solving. I will correlate two different cognitive capacities or processes of “memory” (and “forgetting”) with the conception of reflection, and evaluate them under two different frameworks, a strict deontic framework (one that presupposes free and intentional determination) and a more loosely deontic framework (one that highlights functional and mechanical faculties). The purpose is to show that reflection as metacognition plays an important and active role and enjoys a better epistemic (normative) status in our human endeavors (cognitive or epistemic) than those of first-order (or animal) cognition, such as memory, can play.


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Biografia do Autor

Chienkuo Mi, Soochow University

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Soochow University, Taipei City – Taiwan.