The limits of certainty in the oral history of philosophy: the problem of memory




interview, cognitive bias, memory, philosophy, philosophical text


The article argues that the oral history of philosophy (OHP) will not produce reliable results unless it develops effective methods of counteracting cognitive biases related to human memory. So far, this problem has not even been raised.

I highlighted the main cognitive memory biases that affect the validity of the UIF: choice-supportive bias, hindsight bias, fundamental attribution error. Describing the nature of their detrimental effects on the interview, I suggested ways to counteract it: (1) multi-level verification of all actual data; (2) checking of the interview's previous judgment; (3) mandatory data validation for the potential impact of nostalgia; (4) co-creation interviewing; (5) a sequence of questions that will problematize the possible impact of bias during the interview itself.

As OHF is still a theoretically unspecified discipline, I have proposed a concept that includes (a) its definition, (b) its place among other historical and philosophical disciplines, (c) its main genres and their specificities; (d) the irreplaceability of its data for the history of philosophy as a science (the ability to engage the interviewer in an active non-self-reflection situation). Interviewer answers often cannot be obtained from traditional sources (articles, books, drafts, letters, margins, etc. ).

In the end, I outlined five main arguments in favor of the broad involvement of students of the philosophical faculties in organizing and conducting interviews within the OHF.

Author Biography

Vsevolod Khoma

undergraduate  student,  Faculty  of  Philosophy, Taras  Shevchenko  National  University of Kyiv (Ukraine).


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How to Cite

Khoma, V. (2020). The limits of certainty in the oral history of philosophy: the problem of memory. Filosofska Dumka, (4), 67–80.






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