Reconstructing memories, deconstructing the self

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The paper evaluates a well-known argument for a self from episodic memories-that remembering that I did something or thought something involves experiencing the identity of my present self with the past doer or thinker. Shaun Nichols argues that although it phenomenologically appears to be the case that we are identical with the past self, no metaphysical conclusion can be drawn from the phenomenology. I draw on literature from contemporary psychology and Buddhist resources to arrive at a more radical conclusion: that there is no phenomenological sense of identity with a past self; the sense of self in episodic memory depends on narrative construction of the self.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-138
Number of pages18
JournalMind & Language
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Abhidharma Buddhist philosophy
  • constructive memory
  • episodic memory
  • error theory of self
  • narrative self
  • sense of self

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