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Individuals with episodic amnesia and deficits in episodic future projection are frequently described as trapped in an eternal present or bound to stimuli in the here and now. I argue that individuals with medial temporal lobe damage and deficits in these capacities nonetheless retain much of their orientation in time and much of their ability to make adaptive prudential choices about their futures. These findings suggest that episodic memory might play very little role in our understanding of time and suggest alternative ways of thinking about both the function of episodic memory and the human capacity to make adaptive, future-oriented decisions.


craverCarl Craver is a philosopher of neuroscience with side interests in the history and philosophy of biology, general philosophy of science, metaphysics, and moral psychology. His 2007 book, Explaining the Brain, develops a framework for thinking about the norms of scientific explanation in physiological sciences such as neuroscience. His forthcoming book (with Lindley Darden), Searching for Mechanisms: Discoveries Across the Life Sciences, develops a mechanistic view of discovery in biology. He is working (with Shayna Rosenbaum, York University) to study deficits in agency and moral reasoning in people with amnesia. Other research interests include general work on the nature of scientific explanation, the norms of progress for experimental instruments and techniques, and the difference between modeler’s and maker’s knowledge of the brain.

Read more about Carl Craver.


This event was co-sponsored with Western’s Brain And Mind Institute.


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