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On memory and reminiscence Aristotle (ca. 350 b.c.)

Part 1

We have actually, in the next area, to treat of Memory and Remembering, considering its nature, its cause, and the part of the spirit to which this experience, and also that of Recollecting, belongs. For the persons who possess a retentive memory are not similar with those that excel in power of recollection; indeed, as a dominance, slow-moving people have actually an excellent memory, whereas those that are quick–witted and also clever are better at recollecting.

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We should first create a true conception of these objects of memory, a allude on which mistakes are regularly made. Now to remember the future is not possible, yet this is an object of opinion or expectation (and indeed tright here might be actually a science of expectation, like that of divicountry, in which some believe); nor is there memory of the current, but only sense–perception. For by the last we recognize not the future, nor the previous, but the present only. But memory relates to the previous. No one would certainly say that he remembers the current, when it is current, e.g. a provided white object at the minute as soon as he sees it; nor would certainly one say that he remembers an object of scientific contemplation at the moment as soon as he is actually contemplating it, and also has actually it full before his mind;–of the former he would say only that he perceives it, of the latter only that he knows it. But once one has actually clinical expertise, or perception, acomponent from the actualizations of the faculty concerned, he for this reason "remembers" (that the angles of a triangle are together equal to 2 appropriate angles); regarding the former, that he learned it, or believed it out for himself, as to the last, that he heard, or observed, it, or had actually some such judicious experience of it. For whenever before one exercises the faculty of remembering, he must say within himself, "I previously heard (or otherwise perceived) this," or "I previously had actually this thought".

Memory is, therefore, neither Perception nor Conception, but a state or affection of among these, conditioned by lapse of time. As already observed, tbelow is no such point as memory of the existing while present, for the existing is object just of perception, and also the future, of expectation, but the object of memory is the previous. All memory, therefore, implies a time elapsed; in turn only those pets which perceive time remember, and the organ whereby they perceive time is additionally that by which they remember.

The topic of "presentation" has actually been currently taken into consideration in our work On the Soul. Without a presentation intellectual task is difficult. For tright here is in such activity an incidental affection similar through one also incidental in geometrical demonstrations. For in the last case, though we carry out not for the purpose of the proof make any type of use of the truth that the quantity in the triangle (for example, which we have actually drawn) is determinate, we neverthemuch less draw it determinate in amount. So also when one exerts the intellect (e.g. on the topic of initially principles), although the object may not be quantitative, one enviseras it as quantitative, though he thinks it in abstractivity from quantity; while, on the other hand also, if the object of the intellect is basically of the class of things that are quantitative, however indeterminate, one enviseras it as if it had actually determinate amount, though subsequently, in reasoning it, he abstracts from its determinateness. Why we cannot exercise the intellect on any kind of object absolutely acomponent from the constant, or use it also to non–temporal things unmuch less in connexion through time, is one more question. Now, one have to cognize magnitude and motion by indicates of the very same faculty through which one cognizes time (i.e. by that which is additionally the faculty of memory), and the presentation (involved in such cognition) is an affection of the sensus communis; wtherefore this adheres to, viz. that the cognition of these objects (magnitude, activity time) is effected by the (sassist sensus communis, i.e. the) main faculty of perception. Accordingly, memory (not merely of wise, but) even of intellectual objects requires a presentation: hence we may conclude that it belongs to the faculty of intelligence just incidentally, while directly and essentially it belongs to the primary faculty of sense–perception.

Hence not only humans and the beings which possess opinion or knowledge, but additionally particular various other animals, possess memory. If memory were a duty of (pure) intellect, it would not have actually been as it is an attribute of many type of of the reduced animals, however most likely, in that case, no mortal beings would certainly have actually had actually memory; since, also as the situation stands, it is not an attribute of them all, just because all have actually not the faculty of perceiving time. Whenever before one actually remembers having seen or heard, or learned, something, he contains in this act (as we have actually currently observed) the consciousness of "formerly"; and the distinction of "former" and "latter" is a difference in time.

Accordingly if asked, of which among the parts of the soul memory is a duty, we reply: manifestly of that component to which "presentation" appertains; and all objects qualified of being presented (viz. aistheta) are automatically and also properly objects of memory, while those (viz. noeta) which necessarily involve (however only involve) presentation are objects of memory incidentally.

One might ask how it is feasible that though the affection (the presentation) alone is current, and also the (related) reality absent, the latter–that which is not present–is remembered. (The question arises), because it is clear that we need to develop that which is generated through sense–perception in the sentient heart, and in the component of the body which is its seat–viz. that affection the state whereof we contact memory–to be some such thing as a picture. The procedure of motion (sensory stimulation) affiliated the act of perception stamps in, as it were, a sort of impression of the percept, just as persons carry out that make an impression with a seal. This explains why, in those that are strongly moved owing to passion, or time of life, no mnemonic impression is formed; simply as no impression would certainly be developed if the activity of the seal were to impinge on running water; while tright here are others in whom, owing to the receiving surface being frayed, as happens to (the stucco on) old (chamber) wall surfaces, or owing to the hardness of the receiving surface, the requisite impression is not implanted at all. Hence both exceptionally young and exceptionally old persons are defective in memory; they are in a state of flux, the previous because of their expansion, the last, owing to their decay. In favor manner, additionally, both those who are too quick and those who are also sluggish have actually poor memories. The previous are too soft, the last too hard (in the texture of their receiving organs), so that in the case of the previous the presented photo (though imprinted) does not reprimary in the heart, while on the latter it is not imprinted at all.

But then, if this truly defines what happens in the genesis of memory, (the question stated over arises:) when one remembers, is it this impressed affection that he remembers, or is it the objective thing from which this was derived? If the previous, it would certainly follow that we remember nothing which is absent; if the latter, just how is it feasible that, though perceiving straight only the impression, we remember that missing thing which we do not perceive? Granted that tright here is in us somepoint choose an impression or image, why must the perception of the mere impression be memory of somepoint else, instead of being concerned this impression alone? For as soon as one actually remembers, this impression is what he contemplates, and this is what he perceives. How then does he remember what is not present? One could also intend it possible likewise to see or hear that which is not existing. In reply, we suggest that this incredibly thing is quite conceivable, nay, actually occurs in experience. A picture painted on a panel is at once a snapshot and also a likeness: that is, while one and also the same, it is both of these, although the "being" of both is not the exact same, and also one may conlayout it either as a snapshot, or as a likeness. Just in the same method we need to conceive that the mnemonic presentation within us is something which by itself is merely a things of contemplation, while, in–relation to somepoint else, it is likewise a presentation of that other point. In so much as it is regarded in itself, it is only a things of contemplation, or a presentation; yet once taken into consideration as family member to something else, e.g. as its likeness, it is additionally a mnemonic token. Hence, whenever before the residual sensory process implied by it is actualized in consciousness, if the spirit perceives this in so far as it is something absolute, it shows up to occur as a mere thought or presentation; yet if the soul perceives it qua related to somepoint else, then,–simply as once one contemplates the painting in the picture as being a likeness, and without having actually (at the moment) checked out the actual Koriskos, contemplates it as a likeness of Koriskos, and also in that case the suffer associated in this contemplation of it (as relative) is different from what one has once he contemplates it sindicate as a painted figure–(so in the instance of memory we have the analogous distinction for), of the objects in the spirit, the one (the unassociated object) presents itself ssuggest as a assumed, however the other (the associated object) just bereason, as in the paint, it is a likeness, presents itself as a mnemonic token.

We have the right to now understand why it is that sometimes, once we have such processes, based upon some previous act of perception, occurring in the heart, we do not know whether this really indicates our having had perceptions matching to them, and we doubt whether the instance is or is not among memory. But periodically it happens that (while thus doubting) we obtain a sudden idea and also recollect that we heard or observed somepoint formerly. This (occurrence of the "sudden idea") happens whenever, from contemplating a mental object as absolute, one changes his allude of view, and also regards it as relative to somepoint else.

The opposite (sc. to the instance of those who at first execute not identify their phantasms as mnemonic) likewise occurs, as occurred in the cases of Antipheron of Oreus and also others experiencing from psychological derangement; for they were accustomed to speak of their mere phantasms as facts of their past suffer, and as if remembering them. This takes place whenever before one contemplates what is not a likeness as if it were a likeness.

Mnemonic exercises aim at keeping one"s memory of something by repetitively reminding him of it; which means nopoint else (on the learner"s part) than the frequent contemplation of somepoint (viz. the "mnemonic", whatever before it might be) as a likeness, and not as out of relation.

See more: Select The Best Term For Each Definition Below., Acct 1 Chap 10

As regards the question, therefore, what memory or remembering is, it has actually now been shown that it is the state of a presentation, connected as a likeness to that of which it is a presentation; and also regarding the question of which of the faculties within us memory is a role, (it has been shown) that it is a role of the main faculty of sense–perception, i.e. of that faculty by which we perceive time.