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From Medieval Mnemonics to a Social Construction of Memory - page 7 / 23

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Packard, Chen / MEMORY, MORALITY, AND CONSCIOUSNESS

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inwardly directed ways while living an ascetic lifestyle of lifelong repentance and “faith alone.” According to Max Weber (1995), the Reformation and moder- nity reoriented social life in Old Europe while independent Protestants colo- nized the New World. Reformation and modernization highlighted the fact that individual memory and contemplation did not enable the individual subject to know the divine. The external conflicts of dualistic medieval life and belief sys- tems became internalized in the insecure individual, alone in a world where spir- itual perfection could not be obtained by following a system, demonstrated in jurisprudence, or bought for a price; indeed, one’s spiritual salvation and direction was unknown, or known only to God.

LEIBNIZ (1646-1716), BERGSON (1859-1941), THE METAPHYSICIANS ON MEMORY, PERSPECTIVE, AND KNOWLEDGE; NIETZSCHE (1844-1900) ON FORGETTING

In 1686, Leibniz (1993) argued in his Discourse on Metaphysics that neither the individual nor society determine knowledge; he posited that perfect knowl- edge is God, and logic and mathematics are not superior to intuition. Leibniz also analyzed earlier concepts of how ideas and concepts are developed and retained, or not retained (pp. 68-72). Perceptions deliver expectations based on preceding associations and results based on prior related experience, Leibniz argued,

Men act in like manner as animals, in so far as the sequence of their perceptions is determined only by the law of memory, resembling the empirical physicians who practice simply, without any theory, and we are empiricists in three-fourths of our actions. (p. 257)

Memory is ultimately derived imperfectly from God or perfect knowledge; memory manifests in small changes (or perception) that originate ultimately in God, or pure knowledge, which is outside the human domain.

In 1714, Leibniz (1993) argued in the Monadology that

on awaking after a period of unconsciousness we become conscious of our percep- tions, we must, without having been conscious of them, have had perceptions immediately before; for one perception can come in a natural way only from another perception, just as motion can come in a natural way only from a motion. (p. 256)

Leibniz did not exclude the idea of unconsciousness and included in his concep- tualizations the idea of force, dynamism, action, and change or in his words, “what can happen to one corresponds to what happens to all others without their acting upon one another directly” (p. 70). Reasoning, according to Leibniz, was based on two principles:

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