CFP: Point of View in Memory and Imagery: philosophical and psychological perspectives on perspective

Submission deadline: February 15, 2013

Conference date(s):
May 9, 2013 - May 11, 2013

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Macquarie University
Sydney, Australia

Topic areas


This workshop will address perspective-taking in remembering and imagining. We welcome offers of papers from philosophers and psychologists, and from related disciplines. We are particularly interested in proposals which discuss relations between visual or visuospatial perspective and other kinds of perspective, or which address interactions between internal and external perspectives on one’s past, future, or possible actions and experiences.


When I remember my past experiences, I may see the remembered scene from my original point of view. Alternatively I may see myself in that remembered scene, as from an observer’s perspective. Likewise, when I visualize and imagine my future or possible actions, I may adopt either an internal or ‘own eyes’ perspective, or an external or ‘see-oneself’ perspective on those imagined events. Sometimes, in both memory and imagery, I can switch perspectives. The availability of such ‘field’ and ‘observer’ perspectives is a puzzling aspect of the phenomenology of memory and imagery. It is the subject of concerted but as yet unintegrated research programs in psychology and philosophy (Nigro & Neisser 1983; Debus 2007; Rice & Rubin 2009; Libby & Eibach 2011; Goldie 2012 – a select reference list is below). The study of vantage-points in memory and imagery raises a range of intriguing questions about self-representation and the body, personality and identity, emotion and mood, movement and space, narrative and time. 


Catriona Mackenzie (Philosophy, Macquarie University)
Tony Morris (Sport Science, Victoria University Melbourne)
Michelle Moulds (Psychology, University of New South Wales)
John Sutton (Cognitive Science, Macquarie University)

Call for Papers

We welcome proposals for papers on any aspect of the topic of point of view in memory and imagery. While we seek coverage of a broad range of topics, papers should make direct contact with questions about visual or visuospatial perspective-taking in remembering or imagining.

Deadline for abstracts: February 15, 2013. Abstracts of 500-800 words should be sent as attachments by February 15, 2013, to John Sutton at [email protected]

We anticipate scheduling longer and shorter paper sessions. Please indicate which you would prefer, and whether or not the alternative would also be acceptable. Graduate students are encouraged to submit abstracts.

Themes and possible topics include

Conceptualising perspective-taking in memory and imagery

  • Observer perspectives and truth in memory
  • Constructive remembering and the causal theory of memory
  • The operationalization and measurement of perspectives in memory and imagery
  • Switching perspectives in imagery and memory
  • The neuroscience of perspective-taking

Agency, identity, and perspective-taking

  • Perspective-taking, agency, and future-directed thought
  • Integrating internal and external perspectives on one’s past
  • Perspective-taking and narrative identity
  • Emotion and perspective-taking
  • Perspective-taking in depression and traumatic memory
  • Imagining from the inside: narrative and character in the arts

Embodiment and perspective-taking

  • Self-representation and body-representation
  • Visualization and skilled movement, for example in sport and dance
  • Perspectives in spatial cognition and navigation
  • Perspective-taking, gesture, and the body
  • External perspectives in dreaming, and the out-of-body experience

This workshop is organized and sponsored by the Macquarie University
Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics (

For further information contact the organizers, Catriona Mackenzie (catri[email protected]) or John Sutton ([email protected]).

Select references

  • Debus, Dorothea (2007). Perspectives on the past: a study of the spatial perspectival characteristics of recollective memories. Mind & Language 22, 173-206.
  • Goldie, Peter (2012). The Mess Inside: narrative, emotion, and the mind. Oxford University Press.
  • Kuyken, Willem & Michelle L. Moulds (2009). Remembering as an observer: how is autobiographical memory retrieval vantage perspective linked to depression? Memory 17, 624-634.
  • Libby, Lisa K. & Richard Eibach (2011). Visual perspective in mental imagery: A representational tool that functions in judgment, emotion, and self-insight. In M.P. Zanna & J.M. Olson (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 44, pp.185-245. Academic Press.
  • Mackenzie, Catriona (2007). Imagination, identity, and self-transformation. In K. Atkins & C. Mackenzie (Eds) Practical Identity and Narrative Agency, pp.121-145. Routledge.
  • Morris, Tony, Michael Spittle, & Anthony P. Watt (2005). Imagery Perspectives. In Morris, Spittle, & Watt, Imagery in Sport, pp.127-152. Human Kinetics.
  • Nigro, Georgia & Ulric Neisser (1983). Point of view in personal memories. Cognitive Psychology 15, 467-482. 
  • Rice, Heather J. & David C. Rubin (2009). I can see it both ways: first- and third-person visual perspectives at retrieval. Consciousness and Cognition 18, 877-890.
  • Sutton, John (2010). Observer perspective and acentred memory: some puzzles about point of view in personal memory. Philosophical Studies 148, 27-37.

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