Midwest Memory Mayhem workshop comes to WashU

Philosophers, psychologists, and anyone interested in the science and philosophy of memory will gather together at the Midwest Memory Mayhem workshop to listen to, discuss — and hopefully remember — several fascinating intersections between the two disciplines.


“Memory is a perennial fascination for philosophers and scientists alike,” according to Carl Craver, professor of philosophy and organizer of the upcoming Midwest Memory Mayhem symposia. Researchers from across disciplines will join together Feb. 21 for the workshop, which will cover a broad range of topics and questions, from, “Are memories actually physically stored someplace in the brain?” to “How are our memories related to our sense of identity and culture?” Anyone from the Washington University community is welcome to attend.

The workshop lasts all day, comprised of five sessions, each with two expert speakers, and plenty of time for Q&A. Each session is designed to provide short, targeted discussions highlighting fruitful intersections between the science and philosophy of memory. Attendees don’t have to stay for the entire workshop, but those who are truly intrigued by memory and its role in human life will get to engage with a sampler of captivating subjects. “The point is to have several exciting popcorn discussions, rather than one long, focused rumination,” Craver emphasized. “If you don’t like one session, you should stick around for a bit because there’s going to be something very different coming your way.”

Both disciplines have much to gain from collaboration. “Philosophers should always be on the lookout for potential areas where findings from the sciences might in fact help to settle or clarify disputes that have been going on since Plato,” Craver pointed out. Similarly, psychologists can benefit from philosophers’ efforts to understand how the capacity to remember fits in with uniquely human experiences, such as “our ability to know things about the world, to establish of sense of who we are, and to build relationships with other people.”

The workshop should be seen as an intellectual incubator, bringing together top memory researchers and creative young figures in the philosophy of memory to generate exciting new ideas and ways of thought. Yet, Oyku Uner, a session moderator and psychology graduate student, calls on a broader audience to join in, saying, “If you have ever been struck by how curious or remarkable your own memory is, this workshop is a great opportunity to listen to experts who have devoted their entire careers to answering just those questions.”

Please, come join this new and exciting exploration of human memory — and don’t forget to RSVP!