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Debus, Dorothea, , . Mental Time Travel: Remembering the Past, Imagining the Future, and the Particularity of Events
2014, Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (3):333-350
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Abstract: The present paper offers a philosophical discussion of phenomena which in the empirical literature have recently been subsumed under the concept of ‘mental time travel’. More precisely, the paper considers differences and similarities between two cases of ‘mental time travel’, recollective memories (‘R-memories’) of past events on the one hand, and sensory imaginations (‘S-imaginations’) of future events on the other. It develops and defends the claim that, because a subject who R-remembers a past event is experientially aware of a past particular event, while a subject who S-imagines a future event could not possibly be experientially aware of a future particular event, R-memories of past events and S-imaginations of future events are ultimately mental occurrences of two different kinds.

Comment: This paper is concerned with both metaphysics and cognitive science. It could be used to raise questions about how we imagine future events involving ourselves and other people, and how this is similar or dissimilar to how we remember events. It could be used together with papers in cognitive neuroscience investigating the brain areas active in imagination and memory, most likely in a third or fourth year module.

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Nagel, Jennifer, , . Knowledge and reliability
, Kornblith, Hilary & McLaughlin, Brian (eds.), Alvin Goldman and his Critics. Blackwell.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Internalists have criticised reliabilism for overlooking the importance of the subject’s point of view in the generation of knowledge. This paper argues that there is a troubling ambiguity in the intuitive examples that internalists have used to make their case, and on either way of resolving this ambiguity, reliabilism is untouched. However, the argument used to defend reliabilism against the internalist cases could also be used to defend a more radical form of externalism in epistemology.

Comment: This paper defends reliabilism from criticisms according to which our intuition tells against reliabilism. It is suitable for an introductory epistemology course, sessions on reliabilism or epistemic externalism.

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Nagel, Jennifer, , . Knowledge as a mental state
2013, In: Gendler, Tamar (ed), Oxford Studies in Epistemology, Volume 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 275-310
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Abstract: In the philosophical literature on mental states, the paradigmatic examples of mental states are beliefs, desires, intentions, and phenomenal states such as being in pain. The corresponding list in the psychological literature on mental state attribution includes one further member: the state of knowledge. This article examines the reasons why developmental, comparative and social psychologists have classified knowledge as a mental state, while most recent philosophers – with the notable exception of Timothy Williamson – have not. The disagreement is traced back to a difference in how each side understands the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and belief, concepts which are understood in both disciplines to be closely linked. Psychologists and philosophers other than Williamson have generally have disagreed about which of the pair is prior and which is derivative. The rival claims of priority are examined both in the light of philosophical arguments by Williamson and others, and in the light of empirical work on mental state attribution.

Comment: This is a good teaching material on knowledge first. There is a recent response to this paper written by Aidan McGlynn (“Mindreading knowledge”, 2016) which can be used together in teaching in order to create a nice dynamic of debate.

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