Memory and Forgetting: An Epistemological Inquiry

Speaker: Prof. Chienkuo Mi
Title: Memory and Forgetting: An Epistemological Inquiry
Time: Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 2:00 pm
Location:606-6317,  The meeting room of School of Politics & Public Administration, Dushu Lake campus
Speaker Biography:
Prof. Chienkuo Mi is Nankai Chair Professor of Philosophy (Tianjing Thousand Talents, 2017-2020) at Nankai University, Tianjin, Professor of Philosophy at Soochow University,Taipei, and Visiting Professor of Philosophy (2017, Fall Semester) at Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has published widely in Chinese and English on topics in epistemology, philosophy of language, and Chinese philosophy. His recently published works include Naturalized Epistemology and Philosophy of Science (with Ruey-lin Chen, Rodopi 2007) and Moral and Intellectual Virtues in Western and Chinese Philosophy: The Turn toward Virtue (with Michael Slote and Ernest Sosa, Routledge 2015). His recent research brings together issues in virtue epistemology and Chinese philosophy.

    Memory is commonly viewed as the “storehouse” of our past knowledge, experiences, or information. However, it will lead naturally to the following questions and puzzles: where do we store our memory? how do we store our memory? what does it mean to say that we remember something in the past? and how can we be sure that our memory is reliable,
justifiable, or competent enough? On the other hand, forgetting is usually regarded as the loss of memory or inability to recall past information. It appears to be the case that “memory” and “forgetting” are always opposite to each other, and that “memory” plays a default and vital role in general while “forgetting” a deficient and unwanted one. Recent researches in psychology and philosophy have proved that forgetting is sometimes necessary for our psychological and cognitive wellness, and that forgetting can be virtuous as an ethical or epistemic factor. If it is true, then “forgetting” will post a threat and a challenge to the main theories in contemporary epistemology. It is argued that in order to deal with the challenge and solve the problem, a cognitive (or moral) agent have to learn and develop a wellbalanced competence or character-trait of “remembering” and “forgetting”.