Shanghai-Grenoble Philosophy of Memory Workshop

April 27, 2019
New York University, Shanghai

room 1100
1555 Century Ave, Pudong


  • Centre for Philosophy of Memory, Université Grenoble Alpes


Université Grenoble Alpes
New York University, Shanghai

Talks at this conference

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09:00-10:20. Philosophy of memory as a key to encode AI. Qingfeng Yang (Shanghai University).

Abstract: One AI Index from Stanford University on 2018 pointed out that humanistic research on AI is still weak in many countries. In order to push humanistic research on AI, I choose philosophy of memory as an approach to think about AI. In my view, PM can be considered as a key to encode AI and its development. We can (1) clarify the nature of quarrel on strong AI and weak AI through memory as condition for consciousness; (2) analyze the development of AI through different memory classification such as STM-LTM, working memory and episodic memory;(3) use the mode of memory to decide the direction of AI, that is, how to build general AI;(4) know that catastrophic forgetting is becoming the obstacle of AGI.

10:30-11:50. Memory and/as imagination: Causalist and simulationist perspectives. Kourken Michaelian (Université Grenoble Alpes).

Abstract: The talk will discuss the implications of the causal and the simulation theories of memory for the relationship between episodic memory and episodic imagination. Issues to be covered include the objects of mental time travel, the reference of episodic thought, the epistemic openness of the future, the directness of our knowledge of the past, immunity to error through misidentification in episodic memory and episodic future thought, and the possibility of future-oriented confabulation. Against the discontinuist position associated with the causal theory, the talk will defend the continuist position associated with the simulation theory.

13:00-14:20. Justification through imagining the past. Lu Teng (NYU Shanghai).

Abstract: Many philosophers are quite pessimistic about whether imaginings can provide us with non-modal justification—justification for believing non-modal propositions. Recent empirical research has showed that episodic memories might be a kind of imaginings. If skepticism about justification through episodic memories is untenable, then we at least have one strong case of justification through imagining: justification through imagining the past. This talk will investigate why episodic memories, despite being imaginings, can provide us with non-modal justification. It will first examine some features that normally prevent imaginings from providing us with non-modal justification, and will explain why episodic memories do not encounter similar problems. Then the talk will offer an analysis of what makes episodic memories provide non-modal justification, which will reject the relevance of having certain phenomenal character and will, on the other hand, argue for the importance of having a particular kind of etiology.

14:30-15:50. Episodic memory and episodic imagination: Causation without discontinuity. André Sant'Anna (Université Grenoble Alpes).

Abstract: The causal theory of memory, which is the dominant theory in philosophy, claims that there is a difference in kind between episodic remembering and episodic imagining. This claim has been justified on the grounds that remembering, but not imagining, requires causal connections to the events represented. Quite recently, however, the simulation theory of memory has challenged the causalist account of the relationship between remembering and imagining. Based on mental time travel research, which I briefly discuss in the talk, simulationists claim that remembering and imagining are mental states of the same kind. To support this claim, simulationists have attempted to show that causal connections are not necessary for remembering. Thus, as Perrin and Michaelian put it in a recent article (“Memory as Mental Time Travel”, 2017, Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory, eds. S. Bernecker & K. Michaelian), the dispute between causalists and simulationists over the continuity between memory and imagination boils down to the question of whether causal connections are necessary for remembering. This talk challenges the centrality given to the dispute over the necessity of causal connections in remembering to conceive of the (dis)continuity between remembering and imagining. By outlining an alternative way to conceive of the nature of remembering, I argue that the necessity of causal connections for remembering does not imply a discontinuity between remembering and imagining.

16:00-17:20. Zhuangzi’s Thoughts on Forgetting and Its Epistemological Implications. Feng Yu (East China Normal University).

Abstract: In recent years, more and more cognitive scientists and epistemologists have begun to pay attention to the active role of forgetting in human cognition. Some of them have explicitly showed that forgetting is not only a kind of intellectual virtue rather than the counter epistemic normativity(Michaelian, 2011, but also an important source of justificatory evidence for knowledge(Bernecker & Grundmann, 2017. Moreover, in the tradition of Chinese Taoism, especially in Zhuangzi's philosophy, forgetting(忘, Wang)is a fundamental concept. Its core content can be expanded into Zuo Wang(坐忘, sitting oblivion, Xiang Wang(相忘, forgetting each other, and Liang Wang(两忘, be unconscious of the boundary between oneself and the external. Zuo Wang is based on the individual, advocating that the individual break away from the predicament of "form" and "knowing"; Xiang Wang discusses the relationship among the individuals; Liang Wang attempts to eliminate the differentiation between the objective and the subject, and point to realm of No-self (forgetting "forgetting"). In the previous literatures, the interpretations of Zhuangzi's thoughts on forgetting focused on its ethical and self-cultivating significance. I will further explore the implications of Zhuangzi's forgetting to contemporary epistemology.

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April 1, 2019, 9:00am +07:00

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