Kourken Michaelian

Professeur des universités
Laboratoire « Philosophie, Pratiques et Langages »
Département de philosophie
Université Grenoble Alpes


My research is mainly in the philosophy of memory. In opposition to the causal theory, according to which remembering an event requires an appropriate causal connection with an earlier experience of the remembered event, I have defended a simulation theory, according to which remembering an event does not require such a causal connection and is, instead, simply a matter of imagining it. For an overview of the simulation theory, see this post on Imperfect Cognitions, this post on The Junkyard, or this series of posts on The Brains Blog.


Authored book

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

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

Edited volumes

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

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

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.

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

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

Articles and chapters


K. Michaelian and A. Sant’Anna. Online ahead of print. Memory without content? Radical enactivism and (post)causal theories of memory. Synthese. Special issue: Radical views on cognition. Eds. Marcos Silva and Francicleber Ferreira. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-019-02119-7.

S. Arango-Muñoz and K. Michaelian. Forthcoming. From collective memory ... to collective metamemory? Minimal Cooperation and Shared Agency. Ed. A. Fiebich. Springer.

K. Michaelian, D. Perrin, and A. Sant’Anna. Forthcoming. Continuities and discontinuities between imagination and memory: The view from philosophy. The Cambridge Handbook of Imagination. Ed. A. Abraham. Cambridge University Press.

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.

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.


A. Sant'Anna and K. Michaelian. 2019. Thinking about events: A pragmatist account of the objects of episodic hypothetical thought. Review of Philosophy and Psychology. 10(1): 187–217. DOI: 10.1007/s13164-018-0391-6.


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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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

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

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.

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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.


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.

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.

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. DOI: 10.4454/philinq.v2i1.79.


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.

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

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.


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

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.

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


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

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

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


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.


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

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


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

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


K. Michaelian. Forthcoming. Review of J. R. Finley, F. Naaz, and F. W. Goh, Memory and Technology: How We Use Information in the Brain and the World (Springer 2018). Memory Studies.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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