Memory is a modeling system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper aims to reconfigure the place of memory in epistemology. I start by rethinking the problem that memory systems solve; rather than merely functioning to store information, I argue that the core function of any memory system is to support accurate and relevant retrieval. This way of specifying the function of memory has consequences for which structures and mechanisms make up a memory system. In brief, memory systems are modeling systems. This means that they generate, update and manage a series of overlapping, simplified, relational representations that map out features of the world. Succeeding at building and maintaining models requires the kind of active knowledge generation traditionally associated only with deliberative reasoning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-502
Number of pages20
JournalMind and Language
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • coherence
  • memory consolidation
  • models
  • rationality over time
  • representation
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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