Remembering from the outside: Personal memory and the perspectival mind

Christopher Jude McCarroll*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

49 Scopus citations


When recalling events that one personally experienced, one often visualizes the remembered scene as one originally saw it: from an internal visual perspective. Sometimes, however, one sees oneself in the remembered scene: from an external “observer perspective.” In such cases one remembers from-the-outside. This book is about such memories. Remembering from-the-outside is a common yet curious case of personal memory: one views oneself from a perspective one seemingly could not have had at the time of the original event. How can past events be recalled from a detached perspective? How is it that the self is observed? And how can we account for the self-presence of such memories? Indeed, can there be genuine memories recalled from-the-outside? If memory preserves past perceptual content then how can one see oneself from-the-outside in memory? This book disentangles the puzzles posed by remembering from-the-outside. The book develops a dual-faceted approach for thinking about memory, which acknowledges constructive and reconstructive processes at encoding and at retrieval, and it uses this approach to defend the possibility of genuine memories being recalled from-the-outside. In so doing it also elucidates the nature of such memories and sheds light on the nature of personal memory. The book argues that field and observer perspectives are different ways of thinking about a particular past event. Further, by exploring the ways we have of getting outside of ourselves in memory and other cognitive domains, the book sheds light on the nature of our perspectival minds.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages220
ISBN (Electronic)9780190674267
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Episodic memory
  • Imagination
  • Memory
  • Mental imagery
  • Modes of presentation
  • Observer perspectives
  • Perception
  • Perspective
  • Phenomenology
  • Spatial cognition


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