Kourken Michaelian

Je suis professeur des universités au département de philosophie et membre du laboratoire PPL à l'Université Grenoble Alpes.
I'm professor in the philosophy department and member of the PPL research group at the Université Grenoble Alpes.


Livre / Book

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K. Michaelian. 2016. Mental Time Travel: Episodic Memory and Our Knowledge of the Personal Past. MIT Press.

What is it to remember an episode from one’s past? How does episodic memory give us knowledge of the personal past? What explains the emergence of the apparently uniquely human ability to relive the past? Drawing on current research on mental time travel, this book proposes an integrated set of answers to these questions, arguing that remembering is a matter of simulating past episodes, that we can identify metacognitive mechanisms enabling episodic simulation to meet standards of reliability sufficient for knowledge, and that the subjective experience of reliving the past is a precondition for the reliability of simulational remembering. The resulting account of memory, memory knowledge, and their evolution will be of interest both to philosophers interested in empirically-informed approaches to memory and to psychologists interested in the philosophical implications of empirical memory research.

Reviews: American Journal of Psychology , Australasian Journal of Philosophy , Memory Studies , Metapsychology , Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews , Philosophical Quarterly , Philosophical Review , PsycCRITIQUES .


Ouvrages collectifs / Edited volumes

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K. Michaelian, D. Debus, and D. Perrin, eds. 2018. New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. Routledge.

New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory presents newly commissioned work from well-established, leading scholars in the philosophy of memory as well as from young scholars who are currently emerging as important contributors to the field. The commissioned contributions to the volume deal with a broad range of issues in the philosophy of memory, from issues in the metaphysics and the phenomenology of memory, through questions about memory and norms, to issues related to memory and affectivity. While the topic of memory has until recently been somewhat neglected in contemporary philosophical debates, a broader interest in relevant themes is currently developing; indeed, the philosophy of memory is emerging as a growing research area and at present it is attracting a substantial amount of attention. In line with this recent development, the volume provides a timely venue for new and original research in the philosophy of memory.

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S. Bernecker and K. Michaelian, eds. 2017. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory. Routledge.

Memory occupies a fundamental place in philosophy, playing a central role not only in the history of philosophy but also in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics. Yet the philosophy of memory has only recently emerged as an area of study and research in its own right. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory is an outstanding reference source on the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting area, and is the first philosophical collection of its kind. The forty-eight chapters are written by an international team of contributors, and divided into nine parts: the nature of memory; the metaphysics of memory; memory, mind and meaning; memory and the self; memory and time; the social dimension of memory; the epistemology of memory; memory and morality; history of philosophy of memory. Within these sections, central topics and problems are examined, including: truth, consciousness, imagination, emotion, self-knowledge, narrative, personal identity, time, collective and social memory, internalism and externalism, and the ethics of memory. The final part examines figures in the history of philosophy, including Aristotle, Augustine, Freud, Bergson, Wittgenstein and Heidegger, as well as perspectives on memory in Indian and Chinese philosophy. Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, particularly philosophy of mind and psychology, the Handbook will also be of interest to those in related fields, such as psychology and anthropology.

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K. Michaelian, S. B. Klein, and K. K. Szpunar, eds. 2016. Seeing the Future: Theoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel. Oxford University Press.

Episodic memory is a major area of research in psychology. Initially viewed as a distinct store of information derived from experienced episodes, episodic memory is understood today as a form of mental "time travel" into the personal past. Recent research has revealed striking similarities between episodic memory - past-oriented mental time travel - and future-oriented mental time travel (FMTT). Seeing the Future: Theoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel brings together leading contributors in both empirical and theoretical disciplines to present the first interdisciplinary look at the human to imagine future scenarios. Chapters focus on the challenging conceptual and theoretical questions raised by FMTT, covering themes such as: varieties of future-oriented cognition; relationships between FMTT and episodic memory; subjective temporality in FMTT; the self in FMTT; and functional, evolutionary and comparative, developmental, and clinical perspectives on FMTT. With its focus on the conceptual issues at the heart of fast-developing research on FMTT, this edited volume will serve graduate students to senior scholars working on or interested in FMTT and related areas as a synthesis of current theoretical thinking and a source of questions for future FMTT research.

Review: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

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K. Michaelian and S. Arango-Muñoz, eds. 2014. Epistemic Feelings and Epistemic Emotions. Focus section. Philosophical Inquiries 2(1).

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K. Michaelian and J. Sutton, eds. 2013. Distributed Cognition and Memory Research. Special issue. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4(1).


Articles et chapitres / Articles and chapters

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K. Michaelian. Online ahead of print. Confabulating as unreliable imagining: In defence of the simulationist account of unsuccessful remembering. Topoi. Special issue: Philosophical Perspectives on Confabulation. Eds. S. Stammers and L. Bortolotti. DOI: 10.1007/s11245-018-9591-z .

Abstract: This paper responds to Bernecker’s (2017) attack on Michaelian’s (2016a) simulationist account of confabulation, as well as his defence of the causalist account of confabulation (Robins 2016a) against Michaelian’s attack on it. The paper first argues that the simulationist account survives Bernecker’s attack, which takes the form of arguments from the possibility of unjustified memory and justified confabulation, unscathed. It then concedes that Bernecker’s defence of the causalist account against Michaelian’s attack, which takes the form of arguments from the possibility of veridical confabulation and falsidical relearning, is partly successful. This concession points the way, however, to a revised simulationist account that highlights the role played by failures of metacognitive monitoring in confabulation and that provides a means of distinguishing between “epistemically innocent” (Bortolotti 2015) and “epistemically culpable” memory errors. Finally, the paper responds to discussions by Robins (forthcoming) and Bernecker (2017) of the role played by the concept of reliability in Michaelian’s approach, offering further considerations in support of simulationism.

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K. Michaelian and J. Sutton. Online ahead of print. Collective mental time travel: Remembering the past and imagining the future together. Synthese. Special issue: Thinking (about) groups. Eds. A. Salice, J. Michael, A. Szigeti. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-017-1449-1 .

Abstract: Bringing research on collective memory together with research on episodic future thought, Szpunar and Szpunar (2016) have recently developed the concept of collective future thought. Individual memory and individual future thought are increasingly seen as two forms of individual mental time travel, and it is natural to see collective memory and collective future thought as forms of collective mental time travel. But how seriously should the notion of collective mental time travel be taken? This article argues that, while collective mental time travel is disanalogous in important respects to individual mental time travel, the concept of collective mental time travel nevertheless provides a useful means both of organizing existing findings, while also suggesting promising directions for future research.

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A. Sant'Anna and K. Michaelian. Online ahead of print. Thinking about events: A pragmatist account of the objects of episodic hypothetical thought. Review of Philosophy and Psychology. DOI: 10.1007/s13164-018-0391-6 .

Abstract: The debate over the objects of episodic memory has for some time been stalled, with few alternatives to familiar forms of direct and indirect realism being advanced. This paper moves the debate forward by building on insights from the recent psychological literature on memory as a form of episodic hypothetical thought (or mental time travel) and the recent philosophical literature on relationalist and representationalist approaches to perception. The former suggests that an adequate account of the objects of episodic memory will have to be a special case of an account of the objects of episodic hypothetical thought more generally. The latter suggests that an adequate account of the objects of episodic hypothetical thought will have to combine features of direct realism and representationalism. We develop a novel pragmatist-inspired account of the objects of episodic hypothetical thought that has the requisite features.

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K. Michaelian and S. Arango-Muñoz. 2018. Collaborative memory knowlege: A distributed reliabilist perspective. Collaborative Remembering: Theories, Research, Applications. Eds. M. Meade, C. B. Harris, P. van Bergen, J. Sutton, and A. J. Barnier. Oxford University Press. Pp. 231-247. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198737865.003.0013 .

Abstract: Collaborative remembering, in which two or more individuals cooperate to remember together, is an ordinary occurrence. Ordinary though it may be, it challenges traditional understandings of memory knowledge in terms of justified memory beliefs held within the minds of single subjects. This chapter conducts an initial exploration of the epistemological implications of collaborative memory research, arguing that the findings of this research support a novel theory of knowledge: distributed reliabilism. The chapter also argues for broadening the concept of collaborative memory to include not only direct interactions among subjects but also more indirect, technology-supported and -mediated interactions.

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K. Michaelian and S. K. Robins. 2018. Beyond the causal theory? Fifty years after Martin and Deutscher. New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. Eds. K. Michaelian, D. Debus, and D. Perrin. Routledge. Pp. 13-32.

Abstract: It is natural to think of remembering in terms of causation: I can recall a recent dinner with a friend because I experienced that dinner. Some fifty years ago, Martin and Deutscher (1966) turned this basic thought into a full-fledged theory of memory, a theory that came to dominate the landscape in the philosophy of memory. Remembering, Martin and Deutscher argue, requires the existence of a specific sort of causal connection between the rememberer's original experience of an event and his later representation of that event: a causal connection sustained by a memory trace. In recent years, it has become apparent that this reference to memory traces may be out of step with memory science. Contemporary proponents of the causal theory are thus confronted with the question: is it possible to develop an empirically adequate version of the theory, or is it time to move beyond it? This chapter traces the recent history of the causal theory, showing how increased awareness of the theory’s problems has led to the development of modified version of the causal theory and ultimately to the emergence of postcausal theories.

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K. Michaelian, D. Debus, and D. Perrin. 2018. The philosophy of memory today and tomorrow: Editors' introduction. New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. Eds. K. Michaelian, D. Debus, and D. Perrin. Routledge. Pp. 1-9.

Abstract: This introductory chapter provides an overview of the chapters making up the book, which are grouped into six sections: challenges and alternatives to the causal theory of memory; activity and passivity in remembering; the affective dimension of memory; memory in groups; memory failures: concepts and ethical implications; and the content and phenomenology of episodic and semantic memory.

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K. Michaelian. 2018. Autonoesis and reconstruction in episodic memory: Is remembering systematically misleading? Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 41: E22. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X17001431 .

Abstract: Mahr and Csibra view autonoesis as being essential to episodic memories and construction as being essential to the process of episodic remembering. These views imply that episodic memory is systematically misleading, not because it often misinforms us about the past, but rather because it often misinforms us about how it informs us about the past.

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K. Michaelian. 2018. Naturalistic descriptions of knowledge. Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy. Volume IV of Philosophy of Knowledge: A History. Ed. S. Hetherington and M. Valaris. Bloomsbury. Pp. 69-88.

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K. Michaelian and J. Sutton. 2017. Memory. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. E. N. Zalta.

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K. Michaelian and J. Sutton. 2017. Collective memory. Routledge Handbook of Collective Intentionality. Eds. M. Jankovic and K. Ludwig. Routledge. Pp. 140-151.

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D. Perrin and K. Michaelian. 2017. Memory as mental time travel. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory. Eds. S. Bernecker and K. Michaelian. Routledge. Pp. 228-239.

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S. Bernecker and K. Michaelian. 2017. The philosophy of memory today: Editors’ introduction. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. Pp. 1-3.

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K. Michaelian. 2016. Confabulating, misremembering, relearning: The simulation theory of memory and unsuccessful remembering. Frontiers in Psychology 7: 1857. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01857 .

Abstract: This articles develops a taxonomy of memory errors in terms of three conditions: the accuracy of the memory representation, the reliability of the memory process, and the internality (with respect to the remembering subject) of that process. Unlike previous taxonomies, which appeal to retention of information rather than reliability or internality, this taxonomy can accommodate not only misremembering (e.g., the DRM effect), falsidical confabulation, and veridical relearning but also veridical confabulation and falsidical relearning. Moreover, because it does not assume that successful remembering presupposes retention of information, the taxonomy is compatible with recent simulation theories of remembering.

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J. Davies and K. Michaelian. 2016. Identifying and individuating cognitive systems: A task-based distributed cognition alternative to agent-based extended cognition. Cognitive Processing 17(3): 307–319. DOI: 10.1007/s10339-016-0759-4 .

Abstract: This article argues for a task-based approach to identifying and individuating cognitive systems. The agent-based extended cognition approach faces a problem of cognitive bloat and has difficulty accommodating both sub-individual cognitive systems ("scaling down") and some supra-individual cognitive systems ("scaling up"). The standard distributed cognition approach can accommodate a wider variety of supra-individual systems but likewise has difficulties with sub-individual systems and faces the problem of cognitive bloat. We develop a task-based variant of distributed cognition designed to scale up and down smoothly while providing a principled means of avoiding cognitive bloat. The advantages of the task-based approach are illustrated by means of two parallel case studies: re-representation in the human visual system and in a biomedical engineering laboratory.

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K. Michaelian. 2016. Against discontinuism: Mental time travel and our knowledge of past and future events. Seeing the Future: Theoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel. Eds. K. Michaelian, S. B. Klein, and K. K. Szpunar. Oxford University Press. Pp. 62–92. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190241537.003.0004 .

Abstract: Continuists maintain that, aside from their distinct temporal orientations, episodic memory and future-oriented mental time travel (FMTT) are qualitatively continuous. Discontinuists deny this, arguing that, in addition to their distinct temporal orientations, there are qualitative metaphysical or epistemological differences between episodic memory and FMTT. This chapter defends continuism by responding both to arguments for metaphysical discontinuism, based on alleged discontinuities between episodic memory and FMTT at the causal, intentional, and phenomenological levels, and to arguments for epistemological discontinuism, based on alleged discontinuities with respect to the epistemic openness of the past and future, the directness or indirectness of our knowledge of past and future, and immunity to error through misidentification. The chapter concludes by sketching a positive argument for continuism.

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K. Michaelian, S. B. Klein, and K. K. Szpunar. 2016. The past, the present, and the future of future-oriented mental time travel. Seeing the Future: Theoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel. Oxford University Press. Pp. 1–18. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190241537.003.0001 .

Abstract: This introductory chapter reviews research on future-oriented mental time travel to date (the past), provides an overview of the contents of the book (the present), and enumerates some possible research directions suggested by the latter (the future).

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K. Michaelian. 2016. Memory. Philosophy: Mind. Ed. B. McLaughlin. Series: Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Philosophy. Macmillan Reference. Pp. 227–243.

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K. Michaelian. 2015. Opening the doors of memory: Is declarative memory a natural kind? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science 6(6): 475–482. DOI: 10.1002/wcs.1364 .

Abstract: Klein's target article argues that autonoetic consciousness is a necessary condition for memory; this unusually narrow view of the scope of memory implies that only episodic memory is, strictly speaking, memory. The narrow view is opposed to the standard broad view, on which causal connection with past experience is sufficient for memory; on the broad view, both declarative (i.e., episodic and semantic) memory and procedural memory count as genuine forms of memory. Klein mounts a convincing attack on the broad view, arguing that it opens the ``doors of memory'' too far, but this commentary contends that the narrow view does not open them far enough. It may be preferable to adopt an intermediate view of the scope of memory, on which causal connection is sufficient for memory only when it involves encoding, storage, and retrieval of content. More demanding than the simple causal condition but less demanding than the autonoesis condition, the encoding-storage-retrieval condition implies that both episodic and semantic memory count as genuine forms of memory but that procedural memory does not.

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K. Michaelian. 2014. JFGI: From distributed cognition to distributed reliabilism. Philosophical Issues 24: 314–346. Issue: Extended knowledge. Eds. A. Carter, J. Kallestrup, O. Palermos, and D. Pritchard. DOI: 10.1111/phis.12036 .

Abstract: While, prima facie, virtue/credit approaches in epistemology would appear to be in tension with distributed/extended approaches in cognitive science, Pritchard (2010) has recently argued that the tension here is only apparent, at least given a weak version of distributed cognition, which claims merely that external resources often make critical contributions to the formation of true belief, and a weak virtue theory, which claims merely that, whenever a subject achieves knowledge, his cognitive agency makes a significant contribution to the formation of a true belief. But the significance of the role played by the subject's cognitive agency in distributed cognitive systems is in fact highly variable: at one extreme, formation of a true belief seems clearly to be significantly creditable to the subject's agency; at the other extreme, however, the subject's agency plays such a peripheral role that it is at best unclear whether it should receive significant credit for formation of a true belief. The compatibility of distributed cognition and virtue epistemology thus turns on what it takes for a contribution to the formation of true belief to count as significant. This article argues that the inevitable vagueness of this notion suggests retreating from virtue epistemology to a form of process reliabilism and explores the prospects for a distributed reliabilist epistemology designed to fit smoothly with distributed cognition. In effect, distributed reliabilism radicalizes Goldberg's recent extended reliabilist view (Goldberg 2010) by allowing the process the reliability of which determines the epistemic status of a subject's belief to extend to include not only processing performed by other subjects but also processing performed by non-human technological resources.

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K. Michaelian. 2014. La mémoire comme source de connaissances. Connaître. Questions d’épistémologie contemporaine. Eds. J.-M. Chevalier and B. Gaultier. Editions d'Ithaque. Pp. 119–148.

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S. Arango-Muñoz and K. Michaelian. 2014. Epistemic feelings, epistemic emotions: Review and introduction to the focus section. Philosophical Inquiries 2(1): 97–122. Focus section: Epistemic feelings and epistemic emotions. Eds. K. Michaelian and S. Arango-Muñoz.

Abstract: Philosophers of mind and epistemologists are increasingly making room in their theories for epistemic emotions (E-emotions) and, drawing on metacognition research in psychology, epistemic --- or noetic or metacognitive --- feelings (E-feelings). Since philosophers have only recently begun to draw on empirical research on E-feelings, in particular, we begin by providing a general characterization of E-feelings (section 1) and reviewing some highlights of relevant research (section 2). We then turn to philosophical work on E-feelings and E-emotions, situating the contributions to the focus section (two articles devoted to E-feelings and two devoted to E-emotions) with respect to both the existing literature and each other (section 3). We conclude by briefly describing some promising avenues for further philosophical research on E-feelings and E-emotions (section 4).

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K. Michaelian. 2013. The evolution of testimony: Receiver vigilance, speaker honesty, and the reliability of communication. Episteme 10(1): 37–59. DOI: 10.1017/epi.2013.2 .

Abstract: Drawing on both empirical evidence and evolutionary considerations, Sperber et al. (2010) argue that humans have a suite of evolved mechanisms for "epistemic vigilance". On their view, vigilance plays a crucial role in ensuring the reliability and hence the evolutionary stability of communication. This article responds to their argument for vigilance, drawing on additional empirical evidence (from deception detection research) and evolutionary considerations (from animal signalling research) to defend a more optimistic, quasi-Reidian view of communication. On this alternative view, the lion's share of the responsibility for explaining the reliability of testimony falls not to the vigilance of receivers but rather to the honesty of communicators, implying that vigilance does not play a major role in explaining the evolutionary stability of communication.

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K. Michaelian. 2013. The information effect: Constructive memory, testimony, and epistemic luck. Synthese 190(12): 2429–2456. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-011-9992-7 .

Abstract: The incorporation of post-event testimonial information into an agent's memory representation of the event via constructive memory processes gives rise to the misinformation effect, in which the incorporation of inaccurate testimonial information results in the formation of a false memory belief. While psychological research has focussed primarily on the incorporation of inaccurate information, the incorporation of accurate information raises a particularly interesting epistemological question: do the resulting memory beliefs qualify as knowledge? It is intuitively plausible that they do not, for they appear to be only luckily true. I argue, however, that, despite its intuitive plausibility, this view is mistaken: once we adopt an adequate (modal) conception of epistemic luck and an adequate (adaptive) general approach to memory, it becomes clear that memory beliefs resulting from the incorporation of accurate testimonial information are not in general luckily true. I conclude by sketching some implications of this argument for the psychology of memory, suggesting that the misinformation effect would better be investigated in the context of a broader "information effect".

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K. Michaelian and J. Sutton. 2013. Distributed cognition and memory research: History and current directions. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4(1): 1–24. Special issue: Distributed cognition and memory research. Eds. K. Michaelian and J. Sutton. DOI: 10.1007/s13164-013-0131-x .

Abstract: According to the hypotheses of distributed and extended cognition, remembering does not always occur entirely inside the brain but is often distributed across heterogeneous systems combining neural, bodily, social, and technological resources. These ideas have been intensely debated in philosophy, but the philosophical debate has often remained at some distance from relevant empirical research, while empirical memory research, in particular, has been somewhat slow to incorporate distributed/extended ideas. This situation, however, appears to be changing, as we witness an increasing level of interaction between the philosophy and the empirical research. In this editorial, we provide a high-level historical overview of the development of the debates around the hypotheses of distributed and extended cognition, as well as relevant theory and empirical research on memory, considering both the role of memory in theoretical debates around distributed/extended ideas and strands of memory research that resonate with those ideas; we emphasize recent trends towards increased interaction, including new empirical paradigms for investigating distributed memory systems. We then provide an overview of the special issue itself, drawing out a number of general implications from the contributions, and conclude by sketching promising directions for future research on distributed memory.

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K. Michaelian. 2012. Metacognition and endorsement. Mind & Language 27(3): 284–307. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0017.2012.01445.x .

Abstract: Real agents rely, when forming their beliefs, on imperfect informational sources (sources which deliver, even under normal conditions of operation, both accurate and inaccurate information). They therefore face the "endorsement problem": how can beliefs produced by endorsing information received from imperfect sources be formed in an epistemically acceptable manner? Focussing on the case of episodic memory and drawing on empirical work on metamemory, this paper argues that metacognition likely plays a crucial role in explaining how agents solve the endorsement problem.

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K. Michaelian. 2012. Is external memory memory? Biological memory and extended mind. Consciousness and Cognition 21(3): 1154–1165. DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2012.04.008 .

Abstract: In the context of their argument for the extended mind hypothesis, Clark and Chalmers (1998) suggest four criteria for when a resource counts as a memory for an agent: (1) the agent has constant access to the resource; (2) the information in the resource is directly available to the agent without difficulty; (3) the agent automatically endorses information retrieved from the resource; (4) information is stored in the resource as a consequence of past endorsement. The suggestion is that external resources which satisfy these criteria count as memories on a par with internal, biological memory. As research on forgetting and metamemory shows, however, criteria 2-4 are not satisfied by biological memory itself (and criterion 1 by itself is obviously insufficient), so the criteria cannot be used to establish the existence of external memory. A revised, more psychologically realistic version of the criteria results in a classification of standard cases of putative external memory similar to that generated by the original criteria. But the classification should ultimately be based directly on a description of the function of memory, and merely revising the criteria does not capture this function. An acceptable account of the function of memory will be compatible with plausible accounts of its evolution and with its role in mental time travel and other forms of imagination and will thus suggest that we rely on external memory to serve a function not performed by biological memory systems. External memory thus turns out not to be a type of memory. This conclusion has implications for cognitive science theorizing in the extended mind framework, questions around the ecological validity of laboratory studies of memory, and the causal theory of memory in philosophy.

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K. Michaelian. 2012. (Social) metacognition and (self-)trust. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3(4): 481–514. DOI: 10.1007/s13164-012-0099-y .

Abstract: What entitles you to rely on information received from others? What entitles you to rely on information retrieved from your own memory? Intuitively, you are entitled simply to trust yourself, while you should monitor others for signs of untrustworthiness. This article makes a case for inverting the intuitive view, arguing that metacognitive monitoring of oneself is fundamental to the reliability of memory, while monitoring of others does not play a significant role in ensuring the reliability of testimony.

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K. Michaelian. 2011. The epistemology of forgetting. Erkenntnis 74(3): 399–424. DOI: 10.1007/s10670-010-9232-4 .

Abstract: The default view in the epistemology of forgetting is that human memory would be epistemically better if we were not so susceptible to forgetting -- that forgetting is in general a cognitive vice. In this paper, I argue for the opposed view: normal human forgetting -- the pattern of forgetting characteristic of cognitively normal adult human beings -- approximates a virtue located at the mean between the opposed cognitive vices of forgetting too much and remembering too much. I argue, first, that, for any finite cognizer, a certain pattern of forgetting is necessary if her memory is to perform its function well. I argue, second, that, by eliminating "clutter" from her memory store, this pattern of forgetting improves the overall shape of the subject's total doxastic state. I conclude by reviewing work in psychology which suggests that normal human forgetting approximates this virtuous pattern of forgetting.

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K. Michaelian. 2011. Generative memory. Philosophical Psychology 24(3): 323–342. DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2011.559623 .

Abstract: This paper explores the implications of the psychology of constructive memory for philosophical theories of the metaphysics of memory and for a central question in the epistemology of memory. I first develop a general interpretation of the psychology of constructive memory. I then argue, on the basis of this interpretation, for an updated version of Martin and Deutscher's influential causal theory of memory. I conclude by sketching the implications of this updated theory for the question of memory's status as a generative epistemic source.

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K. Michaelian. 2011. Is memory a natural kind? Memory Studies 4(2): 170–189. DOI: 10.1177/1750698010374287 .

Abstract: Though researchers often refer to memory as if it were a unitary phenomenon, a natural kind, the apparent heterogeneity of the various "kinds" of memory casts doubt on this default view. This paper argues, first, that kinds of memory are individuated by memory systems. It argues, second, for a view of the nature of kinds of memory informed by the tri-level hypothesis. If this approach to kinds of memory is right, then memory is not in fact a natural kind.

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K. Michaelian. 2010. In defence of gullibility: The epistemology of testimony and the psychology of deception detection. Synthese 176(3): 399–427. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-009-9573-1 .

Abstract: Research in the psychology of deception detection implies that Fricker, in making her case for reductionism in the epistemology of testimony, overestimates both the epistemic demerits of the antireductionist policy of trusting speakers blindly and the epistemic merits of the reductionist policy of monitoring speakers for trustworthiness: folk psychological prejudices to the contrary notwithstanding, it turns out that monitoring is on a par (in terms both of the reliability of the process and of the sensitivity of the beliefs that it produces) with blind trust. The consequence is that while (a version of) Fricker's argument for the necessity of a reduction succeeds, her argument for the availability of reductions fails. This does not, however, condemn us to endorse standard pessimistic reductionism, according to which there is no testimonial knowledge, for recent research concerning the methods used by subjects to discover deception in non-laboratory settings suggests that only a more moderate form of pessimism is in order.

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K. Michaelian. 2009. Reliabilism and privileged access. Journal of Philosophical Research 34: 69–109. DOI: 10.5840/jpr_2009_7 .

Abstract: Reliabilism is invoked by a standard causal response to the slow switching argument for incompatibilism about mental content externalism and privileged access. Though the response in question is negative, in that it only establishes that, given such an epistemology, externalism does not rule privileged access out, the appeal to reliabilism involves an assumption about the reliability of introspection, an assumption which in turn grounds a simple argument for the positive conclusion that reliabilism itself implies privileged access. This paper offers a two-part defence of that conclusion: the reliabilist account of privileged access is defended both against arguments in favour of the rival content inheritance strategy and against an argument turning on empirical considerations concerning the individuation of the belief-producing process of introspection.

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K. Michaelian. 2009. Margaret Cavendish's epistemology. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17(1): 31–53. DOI: 10.1080/09608780802548259 .

Abstract: This paper provides a systematic reconstruction of Cavendish's general epistemology and a characterization of the fundamental role of that theory in her natural philosophy. After reviewing the outlines of her natural philosophy, I describe her treatment of "exterior knowledge", i.e., of perception in general and of sense perception in particular. I then describe her treatment of "interior knowledge", i.e., of self-knowledge and "conception". I conclude by drawing out some implications of this reconstruction for our developing understanding of Cavendish's natural philosophy.

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K. Michaelian. 2008. Testimony as a natural kind. Episteme 5(2): 180–202. DOI: 10.3366/E1742360008000312 .

Abstract: I argue, first, that testimony is likely a natural kind (where natural kinds are accurately described by the homoeostatic property cluster theory) and that if it is indeed a natural kind, it is likely necessarily reliable. I argue, second, that the view of testimony as a natural kind and as necessarily reliable grounds a novel, naturalist global reductionism about testimonial justification and that this new reductionism is immune to a powerful objection to orthodox Humean global reductionism, the objection from the too-narrow induction base.

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K. Michaelian. 2008. Privileged standpoints/reliable processes. Hypatia 23(1): 65–98. DOI: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2008.tb01166.x .

Abstract: This paper attempts to reconcile Harding's postmodernist standpoint theory with process reliabilism in first-order epistemology and naturalism in metaepistemology. Postmodernist standpoint theory is best understood as consisting of an applied epistemological component and a metaepistemological component. Naturalist metaepistemology and the metaepistemological component of postmodernist standpoint theory have produced complementary views of knowledge as a socially and naturally located phenomenon and have converged on a common concept of objectivity. The applied epistemological claims of postmodernist standpoint theory usefully can be construed as applications of process reliabilist first-order epistemology. Postmodernist standpoint theory, reliabilism, and naturalism thus form a coherent package of views in metaepistemology, first-order epistemology, and applied epistemology.


Comptes-rendus / Reviews

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K. Michaelian. 2018. Review of S. Prosser, Experiencing Time (Oxford University Press 2016). Philosophical Quarterly 68(272): 642-644. DOI: 10.1093/pq/pqx068 .

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K. Michaelian. 2018. Review of M. Rowlands. Memory and the Self: Phenomenology, Science and Autobiography (Oxford University Press 2017). Frontiers in Psychology 9: 177. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00177 .

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K. Michaelian. 2018. Episodic and semantic memory and imagination: The need for definitions. Review essay on M. S. Humphreys and K. A. Chalmers. Thinking about Human Memory (Cambridge University Press 2016). American Journal of Psychology 131(1): 99-103. DOI: 10.5406/amerjpsyc.131.1.0099 .

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K. Michaelian. 2016. Review of D. Nikulin (ed.), Memory: A History (Oxford 2015). Frontiers in Psychology 6: 2047. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02047 .

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K. Michaelian. 2016. Review of J. Brockmeier, Beyond the Archive: Memory, Narrative, and the Autobiographical Process (Oxford 2015). Memory Studies 9(3): 363–365. DOI: 10.1177%2F1750698016645437b .

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K. Michaelian. 2016. Review of A. Gelfert, A Critical Introduction to Testimony (Bloomsbury 2014). Philosophical Quarterly 67(266): 198-200. DOI: 10.1093/pq/pqv130 .

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K. Michaelian. 2015. Review of Stanley B. Klein, The Two Selves: Their Metaphysical Commitments and Functional Independence (Oxford 2014). Minds and Machines 25(1): 119–122. DOI: 10.1007/s11023-014-9344-8 .

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K. Michaelian. 2015. Review of Joëlle Proust, The Philosophy of Metacognition: Mental Agency and Self-awareness (Oxford 2014). Analysis 75(2): 349–351. DOI: 10.1093/analys/anu159 .

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K. Michaelian. 2014. Review essay on Thomas J. Anastasio, Kristen Ann Ehrenberger, Patrick Watson, and Wenyi Jiang, Individual and Collective Memory Consolidation: Analogous Processes on Different Levels (MIT Press 2012). Memory Studies 7(2): 254–264. DOI: 10.1177/1750698013515365 .

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K. Michaelian. 2010. Review of Sven Bernecker, The Metaphysics of Memory (Springer 2008). European Journal of Philosophy 18(4): 623–626. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2010.00430.x .