Mental Time Travel: Origins and Function

The idea that episodic memory is a form of mental time travel has played a central role in the development of psychological research on memory. Originally introduced by psychologist Endel Tulving, the mental time travel view of memory suggests that episodic memory is just one realization of a more general cognitive capacity that human beings have to “travel” in subjective time. This idea raises important philosophical questions about the nature of episodic memory and its relationship to mental time travel. Two important questions that have received a lot of attention recently are about the evolutionary origins and the function of mental time travel. Counting with contributions from researchers working in philosophy and psychology, the goal of this workshop is to explore topics related to these two issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.

* This workshop is supported by the Australasian Association of Philosophy Postgraduate Conference Fund.


University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
July 5-6, 2018

Organizers: André Sant'Anna and Kourken Michaelian


Registration to the workshop is free and we particularly encourage participation from postgraduate students. Due to space limitations, we encourage those who are interested to register early. Requests for registration should be sent to All other inquiries related to the workshop should also be directed to this address.


- Donna Rose Addis (University of Toronto, Canada)
- Michael Corballis (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
- Carl Craver (Washington University in St. Louis, USA)
- Felipe De Brigard (Duke University, USA)
- Jordi Fernández (University of Adelaide, Australia)
- Elaine Reese (University of Otago, New Zealand)
- André Sant’Anna (University of Otago, New Zealand)
- Chloe Wall (University of Otago, New Zealand)
- Markus Werning (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)


July 5 (Thursday)

13:00 – welcome

13:15-14:15 – Carl Craver: "Episodic memory as epistemic trump card: An evidential theory"

14:15-15:15 – Markus Werning: "Neither preservation, nor simulation: Constructing scenarios from minimal traces"

15:15-15:30 – coffee break

15:30-16:30 – André Sant’Anna: "An externalist approach to autonoesis"

16:30-17:30 – Michael Corballis: "The evolution of mental time travel"

17:30-19:00 - free time

19:00 - dinner
July 6 (Friday)

9:00-10:00 – Felipe De Brigard: TBA

10:00-10:15 – coffee break

10:15-11:15 – Chloe Wall: "Mental Time Travel Disruptions: Collective Memory and the Mandela Effect"

11:15-12:15 – Elaine Reese: "When and how do children begin to engage in mental time travel?"

12:15-13:45 – lunch

13:45-14:45 – Jordi Fernández: "Mental time travel in memory: An intentionalist perspective"

14:45-15:45 - Donna Rose Addis: "Are episodic memories special? On the sameness of remembered and imagined event simulation"

15:45-16:00 – workshop end