The epistemic innocence of clinical memory distortions

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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In some neuropsychological disorders memory distortions seemingly fill gaps in people’s knowledge about their past, where people’s self-image, history, and prospects are often enhanced. False beliefs about the past compromise both people’s capacity to construct a reliable autobiography and their trustworthiness as communicators. However, such beliefs contribute to people’s sense of competence and self-confidence, increasing psychological wellbeing. Here we consider both psychological benefits and epistemic costs, and argue that distorting the past is likely to also have epistemic benefits that cannot be obtained otherwise, such as enabling people to exchange information, receive feedback, and retain key beliefs about themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalMind & Language
Issue number3
Early online date20 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Memory Disorders
  • Dementia
  • epistemic status
  • epistemic innocence
  • Confabulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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