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A direct realist understanding of memory errors

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:27 authored by Li Mei Chew
Memory errors are part and parcel of everyday remembering. While memory and errors in general, present as some of strongest evidence in support for representationalism, memory and error are also two of bigger challenges for direct realism. In fact, critics regard both memory and errors as insurmountable logical problems for direct realism, which makes memory error a unique challenge for direct realism. With regards to memory, firstly, the problem is if the direct realist claims that remembering is a direct relation to a past event, how does the subject who is engaged in the present act of remembering have direct relation to a past event that no long exists? With regard to error, the problem is that if there is a direct relation to the object of cognition as direct realism claims then what is the object of cognition when we are in error? In the case of memory errors then, the challenge is that not only is the act of remembering taking place separate from the initial time the event has occurred but the direct realist needs also to account for how the subject, who has a direct independent relation to the event, can be mistaken about the past event he or she is remembering. The present thesis aim is to take steps to show how direct realist will take the first steps to address the problems of memory error. It will be shown that a variety of direct realism known as situational realism that defines psychology as the study of organism environmental relations and the interactions involving cognition, emotion, and motivation will be able to address the challenges. It will be argued that it is only by taking into consideration both memory and error together that a greater sense of error can be understood from a direct realist perspective.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter One. Anti-representationalism and realism -- Chapter Two. Situational realism -- Chapter Three. The problem of memory -- Chapter Four. The problem of error -- Chapter Five. A contribution to the realist understanding of memory errors -- Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 140-175 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Simon Boag

Additional Supervisor 1

John Sutton


Copyright Li Mei Chew 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




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