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Are we responsible for forgetting things? It certainly doesn't seem like it, since we don't seem to have control over what we forget, but we are often held to the standard of always remembering all pertinent facts.

April 4, 2013

Response from Oliver Leaman on April 4, 2013
I think we often are, since it is remarkable how often people forget things they think relatively unimportant. Forgetting is not entirely outside our control, and if we think we have a tendency to forget things we then surely have a duty to take steps to ensure that we jog our memories. Hence the existence of diaries.

How far we are morally obliged to know ourselves is an interesting issue, but there is some duty to understand how far we are likely to fall below a reasonable standard of behavior. For example, if when I drink alcohol I have a tendency to become bellicose and attack people, I cannot shrug my shoulders after emerging from a fight and say that there was nothing I could do about it. Not once it becomes a familiar experience. Similarly if I keep on forgetting things this is an indication that I need to take control over this part of my life, in so far as I can, rather than smile and wonder what I can do about it.


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