The proposed central thesis

The article, remembering and knowing the past which was done by Endel Tulving in 1989, sought to question the tradition standpoint that recalling what has passed, and knowing things that were learned are two very similar processes (Tulving, 1989). Deriving from this context, the researcher came up with the perspective that knowing and remembering are more suitably abstracted as operations of two memory systems, which are hypothetical including semantic and episodic memory. The researcher also takes the standpoint that, as two memory systems, remembering and knowing are both similar, as all memory systems ought to be, and have primary differences (Tulving, 1989).

Arguments used for supporting the thesis on Remembering and Knowing the Past

In order to support the view that he adopts, Tulving (1989) presents arguments to support his position based on two forms of evidence. The very first is constituted of observations of a remarkable amnesic patient who does not, or cannot recall anything, but has knowledge on a diverse range of things (Tulving, 1989). The second evidence that the researcher uses is provided by differences that exists in the regional cerebral blood-flow patterns in the brains of medically fit volunteer subjects while in the process of retrieving semantic or episodic information.

The researcher reported that the disassociation that prevails between knowledge and normal retention of knowledge on one hand and an acute impairment of the ability to recollect personal events, as it was noted in the case of the amnesic patient, one the other hand is suggestive of a difference between the two forms of memory systems (Tulving, 1989).

Onto the second reason, Tulving (1989) claimed that the measurement of the regional cerebral blood-flow patter is a suggestion that the two memory systems under review are supported by a set of different forms of brain activities. Expanding on this reason, Tulving (1989) posited that the anterior regions of the cortex are usually more involved especially in episodic memory system, that it is the case in the posterior regions.

The third reason provided by the researcher is that the difference between the two memory systems holds true for not only the recent but also recent information and experiences (Tulving, 1989). When a medically fit person is attempting to retrieve a more recent experienced personal episode, along with a recently attained semantic knowledge, blood-flow patterns are greater.

The researcher’s conclusion

The researcher stated that the evidence that was presented in his article implied that there is no tenability of the traditionally held perspective regarding the unity of memory. He also concludes that the idea of multiple systems is more appropriate (Tulving, 1989). As such, the remembrance of personal past represents a different brain accomplishment than merely knowing about it (Tulving, 1989).


The work by Tulving (1989) is characterized by a set of strengths and weaknesses. One of the most ideal aspects of the work is that the reasoning presented is backed by solid evidence. The researcher does not make only mere arguments. Rather, he supports what he says with data from reliable sources and real case studies. As it can be seen, the researcher includes computer-generated snapshots of blood-flow patterns in a person who is thinking about what has happened to him during a summer that took place forty years ago. Tulving (1989) then provides an explanation of these patterns in a manner that supports his theoretical perspective. Additionally, the researcher also uses a real case of an amnesic patient, and gives an account of what happened and then makes a case for his reasoning. Being able to back positions with such things as images and real-time cases makes it more believable, Remembering and Knowing the Past

A further strength attributable to the work under review is that the chief points being advanced are clear and understandable remembering and knowing the past . The researcher clearly identifies the purpose of the paper, the argument that informs the article, arguments, supporting information, and makes a straight forward conclusion. Such a characteristic is essential as it makes a reader more interested. If it was not the case, a reader would be confused and thereby becoming disinterested. Therefore, the knowledge presented, regardless of how meaningful, would not play any role in the field.

However, to some extent, one could argue that the work lacks reliability and credibility. Despite the researcher providing a bibliography, he does not cite these sources within the text. If a researcher fails to use previous literature on the topic under study, the degree of reliability and credibility decreases and makes a work unbelievable. To improve on this, the researcher ought to use footnotes or endnotes to show how the previous research supports one’s positions.


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