We Do Have Memories of the Future; We Just Cannot Make Sense of Them

Stephane Rogeau, PhilSciArchive, Mar 15, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This paper is a conceptual exercise but it's important in its implications. Basically the idea is that it is theoretically possible to have memories of the future, because our recall of a memory is decoupled with the mechanism that created the memory. In this paper, the author argues that we would not be able to make sense of these memories of future events. Maybe not. But we have false memories, inaccurate memories, and yes, could have memories of future events. And it points to the fact that our memories - even vivid recollections of events and experiences - are reconstructions of sensory experiences. When we remember, it's like we relive an experience - but this experience has been recreated from scratch in the mind, and then is experienced anew, so that in our mind we see and feel and hear the experience (this is what we call consciousness (cf phantom limbs)).

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