Belief from the Past



Abstract: A person who remembers having done something has a belief that she did it from having done it. To have a belief that one did something from having done it is to believe that one did the action on the (causal) basis of having done it, where this belief (in order for one to have it) need not be (causally) based even in part on any contributor to the belief other than doing the action. The notion of a contributor to a belief (as opposed to a mere facilitating cause of the belief) is explicated through a series of examples. The account of having a belief that one did something from having done it is then deployed in criticising Ginet's account of ‘memory connection’, in assessing Martin and Deutscher's causal theory of remembering, in indicating how diachronic justification functions in a nontraditional theory of memory, and in setting forth one type of psychological connectedness which, according to advocates of a psychological continuity theory of personal identity, may be employed (noncircularly) in formulating the theory, and which, according to opponents of the theory, provides a target for criticising the theory.