Memory as Mental Time Travel

Special issue of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology

Guest editors: André Sant’Anna, Kourken Michaelian, and Denis Perrin

Call for Papers:

Recent psychological research on episodic memory has motivated a dramatic reconceptualization of memory as a form of mental time travel into the past, or, alternatively, as a form of imagining or simulating past episodes. This reconceptualization has led many psychologists and philosophers to adopt a view of episodic memory as one instance of a more general capacity to mentally travel into both the past and the future, as both processes seem to involve similar forms of simulating or imagining episodes. This view has, in turn, raised a wide range of theoretical and empirical questions pertaining to the relationships among episodic memory, episodic future thought, and other forms of mental time travel. To cite just one example: while the dominant view in psychology has come to be that there is no difference in kind between episodic memory and episodic future thought, the dominant view in philosophy, due in part to the influence of the causal theory of memory, continues to be that there is in fact a difference in kind, that episodic memory has metaphysical, epistemological, or phenomenological features that are not shared by episodic future thought. There are substantial numbers of psychologists and philosophers who reject the dominant views in their respective disciplines, and the debate over this issue shows no sign of dying down. The special issue will bring together researchers from philosophy and psychology to discuss this and other theoretical issues raised by the idea of memory as mental time travel.

Papers should address both memory and its relationship to mental time travel, aiming to make informative contributions at the intersection between the philosophy and the psychology of memory and mental time travel.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

  • The relationship between memory and imagination; the relationship between memory and imagination may also play a role in discussions of any of the other topics.
  • Memory as MTT and: personal identity; the self; and the sense of ownership for memory.
  • Continuities and discontinuities between memory and MTT: epistemological, metaphysical, and phenomenological aspects.
  • The epistemology of memory as MTT: our knowledge of past (and future?) events; the factivity of memory.
  • The phenomenology of memory as MTT: autonoesis; chronesthesia; field and observer perspectives in memory.
  • The metaphysics of memory as MTT: theories of remembering; the objects of memory; memory and MTT as natural kinds; memory traces.
  • Representation in MTT: the nature of representational content in MTT; memory errors; (meta)representation; nonrepresentational approaches.
  • Developmental, evolutionary, functional, and comparative perspectives on memory as MTT.
  • Memory as MTT and extended cognition: external memory; collective memory.
  • Memory as MTT and mental disorders.
  • MTT and semantic memory.
  • MTT and affect in memory/affective memory.
  • MTT and the ethics of memory.

Guest authors:

  • Donna Rose Addis (Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, Canada)
  • Jordi Fernández (Department of Philosophy, University of Adelaide, Australia)
  • Carl Craver (Department of Philosophy and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program, Washington University in St Louis, USA)
  • Markus Werning (Institute for Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)

Important dates:

  • Submission deadline: June 15, 2019
  • Target publication date: March 2020

How to submit:

Prospective authors should register at: to obtain a login and select SI: Mental Time Travel as the article type. Manuscripts should be no longer than 8,000 words and conform to the author guidelines available on the journal's website.


For any queries, please email André Sant’Anna at .