Article ID: CBB641318689

Memory Erasure and the Objection from Truthfulness (2022)


Alexander Erler (Author)

Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Volume: 34
Issue: 2
Pages: 103-128
Publication date: 2022
Language: English

The prospect of selectively erasing undesired memories, whether inducing trauma or “normal” negative affect, has long been explored in fiction. Today, advances in biomedical science increasingly promise to turn it into reality. This article discusses one particular ethical concern about memory erasure, premised on the value of “truthful living.” After explaining memory erasure (alongside other forms of memory editing) and reviewing its current science, I lay out what I call the truthfulness objection. I then consider two main challenges to it: a skeptical take on the accuracy of autobiographical memories (which I critique), and a challenge to the normative force of truthfulness (which I partly endorse). After highlighting what I take to be the grain of truth in the objection, I conclude on a cautiously optimistic note, by highlighting some practical constraints that can be expected to reduce the threat to truthfulness from memory erasure.

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Authors & Contributors
Zeidman, Lawrence A.
Montinari, Maria Rosa
Czech, Herwig
Hirshbein, Laura Davidow
Koch, Lene
Mudry, Philippe
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Medicina Historica
Social Studies of Science
Franco Angeli
Oxford University Press
University of Chicago Press
Le Lettere Edizioni
Medicine and ethics
Science and ethics
Beauchamp, Tom L.
Birkmayer, Walther
Childress, James F.
Colombo, Realdo
Kraepelin, Emil
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
20th century, early
17th century

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