【Seminar】Carl Craver_Episodic amnesia and regret


Topic:Episodic amnesia and regret
Speaker:Carl Craver


“What is the role of episodic memory in moral emotions such as pride, shame and regret? To many philosophers it has seemed that such emotions fundamentally require that one possess episodic memories. In the simple and direct cases, the claim is that one must remember an event to regret it (feel ashamed of it, experience pride in it, etc.). In the more complex and indirect cases, memory underlies a sense of time that is required for one to experience these emotions. To explore these hypotheses, I consider evidence about the capacity for moral emotions in people with episodic amnesia. I argue, partly on this basis, that the moral emotions are, in fact, independent of our capacities both to remember the past and to vividly project ourselves into future scenes. This is true both in cases of acquired amnesia and developmental amnesia, indicating that one need never have had an episodic memory in order to acquire the capacity for at least many moral emotions. These findings point to the need for a counterfactual rather than historical understanding of these emotions.”