Abstract and keywords

Ritið 1/13 - 2013

Róbert H. Haraldsson: Memories as social construction

In this essay I consider a radical theory about memory as a social construction. I begin by looking at how this thesis tends to be presented in the literature in the form of questions and question marks, rarely with direct assertions. I then consider four broad philosophical arguments which have been advanced in support of the thesis. The first argument highlights the kinship between truth and falsity, the second the inseparability of truth from falsehood, the third I call the holism argument and the fourth centres around the narrative-self. Finally, I propose a method to evaluate the thesis. It consists of finding an example where the thesis seems to be true. In light of the example, which is about repressed or recovered memories, we can then ask whether this is what we ordinarily mean by memory and remembering. I suggest it is not.

Keywords: Memory, social construction, trauma, repressed memories, holism

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