Memory

Edited by John Sutton (Macquarie University)
Assistant editor: Sadegh Balal Niaki (University of Western Ontario)
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Summary

Remembering takes many distinctive forms. Philosophers have primarily discussed the form of memory in which I remember episodes and experiences in my own past. Such ‘personal’ (or ‘experiential’ or ‘episodic’) memories seem to represent the past events to which they refer, and to depend on certain kinds of causal connections between past and present. In ‘factual’ or ‘semantic’ memory, in contrast, I need not have personally experienced what I now remember. ‘Declarative’ memory of both these forms aims at truth, but can go wrong in minor or dramatic ways. We also remember both to do certain things (‘prospective’ memory), and how to do certain things (‘procedural’ memory). Philosophers discuss the nature, functions, and mechanisms of memory; its relations to perception, imagination, dreams, emotions, and knowledge; and its connections with personal identity, responsibility, and our moral and social lives. Memory is an active topic of interdisciplinary research between philosophy, cognitive science, and the social sciences.

Key works Theories of memory in the premodern history of philosophy are discussed by Draaisma 2000, Krell 1990, and Sutton 1998. Rich and wide-ranging theoretical treatments include Campbell 2003, Hacking 1995, and Middleton & Brown 2005. The causal theory of memory is developed in Martin & Deutscher 1966, while important work on personal or autobiographical memory includes Campbell 1997, Hoerl 1999, and Goldie 2012. Casey 1987 offers a phenomenological treatment of memory, while Stern 1991 develops a Wittgensteinian approach. Sheets-Johnstone 2003 discusses kinesthetic or bodily memory. Ideas about social aspects of memory are developed by Wegner et al 1985.
Introductions Warnock 1987 is a fine, wide-ranging first read on the philosophy of memory, while Engel 1999 and Schacter 1996 offer provocative introductions to the psychology of memory. Sutton 2009 surveys a range of ideas about situated and social memory, while Boyer & Wertsch 2009 is a good collection of interdisciplinary essays.
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  1. A Hybrid Theory of Event Memory.David H. Ménager, Dongkyu Choi & Sarah K. Robins - 2022 - Minds and Machines 32 (2):365-394.
    Amongst philosophers, there is ongoing debate about what successful event remembering requires. Causal theorists argue that it requires a causal connection to the past event. Simulation theorists argue, in contrast, that successful remembering requires only production by a reliable memory system. Both views must contend with the fact that people can remember past events they have experienced with varying degrees of accuracy. The debate between them thus concerns not only the account of successful remembering, but how each account explains the (...)
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  2. Semantic Memory and Creativity: The Costs and Benefits of Semantic Memory Structure in Generating Original Ideas.Roger E. Beaty, Yoed N. Kenett, Richard W. Hass & Daniel L. Schacter - forthcoming - Thinking and Reasoning:1-35.
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  3. Moral Topography of Memory, Time Control and Accumulation of Identity.Piotr Machura - 2022 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 17 (1):27-44.
    The aim of this paper is to analyze the basis for the moral obligation to remember. As the moral relation to the past is primarily a matter of shared identity, the kind of obligation in question splits into two related issues, namely, that of political, state-oriented and state-organized memory on which the political identity rests and that of memory labour grounded in social identities based in shared, time-extended projects. Drawing upon tensions between these two, I discuss time control and the (...)
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  4. Moral Topography of Memory, Time Control and Accumulation of Identity.Piotr Machura - 2022 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 17 (1):27-44.
    The aim of this paper is to analyze the basis for the moral obligation to remember. As the moral relation to the past is primarily a matter of shared identity, the kind of obligation in question splits into two related issues, namely, that of political, state-oriented and state-organized memory on which the political identity rests and that of memory labour grounded in social identities based in shared, time-extended projects. Drawing upon tensions between these two, I discuss time control and the (...)
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  5. Body Knowledge, Part II: Motion, Memory, and the Mythology of Modernity.Isaiah Lorado Wilner - 2022 - Journal of the History of Ideas 83 (2):229-255.
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  6. Dangerous Memory of Hope.Martin Beck Matuštík - 2009 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 23 (4):350-363.
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  7. A Memory-Based Argument for Non-Reductionism About the Transtemporal Identity of Persons.Daniel Inan - 2022 - Manuscrito 45 (2):161-216.
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  8. Review of Walter Glannon’s The Neuroethics of Memory: From Total Recall to Oblivion, Cambridge University Press, 2019. [REVIEW]Eric Racine - 2022 - Neuroethics 15 (2):1-3.
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  9. Capturing Dynamic Performance in a Cognitive Model: Estimating ACT‐R Memory Parameters With the Linear Ballistic Accumulator.Maarten Velde, Florian Sense, Jelmer P. Borst, Leendert Maanen & Hedderik Rijn - forthcoming - Topics in Cognitive Science.
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  10. Current Controversies in Philosophy of Memory.Andre Sant'Anna, Christopher McCarroll & Kourken Michaelian (eds.) - 2022 - Current Controversies in Philosophy.
    The 12 chapters cover 6 questions: I. What is the relationship between memory and imagination? II. Do memory traces have content? III. What is the nature of mnemonic confabulation? IV. What is the function of episodic memory? V. Do non-human animals have episodic memory? VI. Does episodic memory give us knowledge of the past?
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  11. The Necessity of Memory for Self-Identity: Locke, Hume, Freud and the Cyber-Self.Shane J. Ralston - 2000 - Cyberphilosophy Journal 1 (1).
    John Locke is often understood as the inaugurator of the modern discussion of personal human identity—a discussion that inevitably falls back on his own theory with its critical reliance on memory. David Hume and Sigmund Freud would later make arguments for what constituted personal identity, both relying, like Locke, on memory, but parting from Locke's company in respect the role that memory played. The purpose of this paper will be to sketch the groundwork for Locke's own theory of personal identity (...)
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  12. Selfless Memories.Raphaël Millière & Albert Newen - 2022 - Erkenntnis.
    Many authors claim that being conscious constitutively involves being self-conscious, or conscious of oneself. This claim appears to be threatened by reports of `selfless' episodes, or conscious episodes lacking self-consciousness, recently described in a number of pathological and nonpathological conditions. However, the credibility of these reports has in turn been challenged on the following grounds: remembering and reporting a past conscious episode as an episode that one went through is only possible if one was conscious of oneself while undergoing it. (...)
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  13. I Remember Therefore I Am: Episodic Memory Retrieval and Self-Reported Trait Empathy Judgments in Young and Older Adults and Individuals with Medial Temporal Lobe Excisions.Caspian Sawczak, Mary Pat McAndrews, Brendan Bo O'Connor, Zoë Fowler & Morris Moscovitch - 2022 - Cognition 225:105124.
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  14. Thomas Kuhn, Hyperbole, and the Ashtray: Evidence of Morris’ Faulty Memory.K. Brad Wray - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-6.
    Errol Morris has claimed that Kuhn threw an ashtray at him during a dispute about some matter in the history of science. Morris also claims that Kuhn threw him out of the graduate program at Princeton for disagreeing with him. I argue that Morris’ attack on Kuhn contains some degree of hyperbole. Further, I present evidence that shows that Morris is mistaken about key events during this period. In fact, Kuhn was supportive of Morris in his pursuit of a career (...)
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  15. Negentropy for the Anthropocene; Stiegler, Maori and Exosomatic Memory.Ruth Irwin & Te Haumoana White - 2022 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 54 (5):532-544.
    Exosomatic memory is a crucial phase in the evolution of humanity because it enables learning to take place across groups and generations rather than exclusively through lived experience or one on one transmission. Exosomatic memory is the attribution of knowledge to objects, such as art or writing, which allows epistemology to be transmitted beyond the individual to subsequent generations of people. Exosomatic memory is the key to the transmission of culture and knowledge, beyond the individual who learns exclusively from personal (...)
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  16. Christin Pschichholz (Hg.), The First World War as a Caesura? Demographic Concepts, Population Policy, and Genocide in the Late Ottoman, Russian, and Habsburg Spheres, Berlin: Duncker&Humblot 2020, 247 S.Jutta Kirsch, Religion and Memory. The Importance of Monuments in Preserving Historical Identity, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag 2021, 272 S. [REVIEW]Bernd Lemke - 2022 - Zeitschrift für Religions- Und Geistesgeschichte 74 (2):184-189.
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  17. The Sound of a Room: Memory and the Auditory Presence of Place.Seán Street - 2020 - Routledge.
    "What does a place sound like--and how does the sound of place affect our perceptions, experiences, and memories? The Sound of a Room takes a poetic and philosophical approach to exploring these questions, providing a thoughtful investigation of the sonic aesthetics of our lived environments. Moving through a series of location-based case studies, the author uses his own field recordings as the jumping-off point to consider the underlying questions of how sonic environments interact with our ideas of self, sense of (...)
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  18. Memory, Historic Injustice, and Responsibility.W. James Booth - 2019 - Routledge.
    What is it to do justice to the absent victims of past injustice, given the distance that separates us from them? Grounded in political theory and guided by the literature on historical justice, W. James Booth restores the dead to their central place at the heart of our understanding of why and how to deal with past injustice. Testimonies and accounts from the race war in the United States, the Holocaust, post-apartheid South Africa, Argentina's Dirty War and the conflict in (...)
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  19. Melancholy and the Landscape: Locating Sadness, Memory and Reflection in the Landscape.Jacky Bowring - 2016 - Routledge.
    Written as an advocacy of melancholy s value as part of landscape experience, this book situates the concept within landscape s aesthetic traditions, and reveals how it is a critical part of ethics and empathy. With a history that extends back to ancient times, melancholy has hovered at the edges of the appreciation of landscape, including the aesthetic exertions of the eighteenth-century. Implicated in the more formal categories of the Sublime and the Picturesque, melancholy captures the subtle condition of beautiful (...)
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  20. Routledge International Handbook of Memory Studies.Anna Lisa Tota & Trever Hagen - 2015 - Routledge.
    The Routledge International Handbook of Memory Studies offers students and researchers original contributions that comprise the debates, intersections and future courses of the field. It is divided in six themed sections: 1)Theories and Perspectives, 2) Cultural artefacts, Symbols and Social practices, 3) Public, Transnational, and Transitional Memories 4) Technologies of Memory, 5) Terror, Violence and Disasters, 6) and Body and Ecosystems. A strong emphasis is placed on the interdisciplinary breadth of Memory Studies with contributions from leading international scholars in sociology, (...)
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  21. History, Memory, and State-Sponsored Violence: Time and Justice.Berber Bevernage - 2011 - Routledge.
    Modern historiography embraces the notion that time is irreversible, implying that the past should be imagined as something âe~absentâe or âe~distant.âe Victims of historical injustice, however, in contrast, often claim that the past got âe~stuckâe in the present and that it retains a haunting presence. History, Memory, and State-Sponsored Violence is centered around the provocative thesis that the way one deals with historical injustice and the ethics of history is strongly dependent on the way one conceives of historical time; that (...)
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  22. Memory, Metaphors, and Meaning: Reading Literary Texts.Nicolae Babuts - 2009 - Routledge.
    Literature explores the human condition, the mystery of the world, life and death, as well as our relations with others, and our desires and dreams. It differs from science in its aims and methods, but Babuts shows in other respects that literature has much common ground with science. Both aim for an authentic version of truth. To this end, literature employs metaphors, and it does so in a manner similar to that of scientific inquiry. The cognitive view does not imply (...)
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  23. American Memory in Henry James: Void and Value.William Righter - 2004 - Routledge.
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  24. Justice and the Politics of Memory: Religion & Public Life.Gabriel R. Ricci - 2003 - Routledge.
  25. A Knowledge-First Approach to Episodic Memory.Christoph Hoerl - forthcoming - Synthese.
    This paper aims to outline, and argue for, an approach to episodic memory broadly in the spirit of knowledge-first epistemology. I discuss a group of influential views of memory that I characterize as ‘two-factor accounts’ of episodic memory, which have both proved popular historically (e.g., in the work of Hume, 1739-40; Locke, 1690; and Russell, 1921) and have also seen a resurgence in recent work on the philosophy of memory (see, e.g., Dokic, 2014; Michaelian, 2016; Owens, 1996). What is common (...)
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  26. Remembering a Virtual Museum Tour: Viewing Time, Memory Reactivation, and Memory Distortion.Sarah Daviddi, Serena Mastroberardino, Peggy L. St Jacques, Daniel L. Schacter & Valerio Santangelo - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    A variety of evidence demonstrates that memory is a reconstructive process prone to errors and distortions. However, the complex relationship between memory encoding, strength of memory reactivation, and the likelihood of reporting true or false memories has yet to be ascertained. We address this issue in a setting that mimics a real-life experience: We asked participants to take a virtual museum tour in which they freely explored artworks included in the exhibit, while we measured the participants’ spontaneous viewing time of (...)
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  27. Enhancing Visuospatial Working Memory Performance Using Intermittent Theta-Burst Stimulation Over the Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex.Ronald Ngetich, Donggang Jin, Wenjuan Li, Bian Song, Junjun Zhang, Zhenlan Jin & Ling Li - 2022 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 16.
    Noninvasive brain stimulation provides a promising approach for the treatment of neuropsychiatric conditions. Despite the increasing research on the facilitatory effects of this kind of stimulation on the cognitive processes, the majority of the studies have used the standard stimulation approaches such as the transcranial direct current stimulation and the conventional repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation which seem to be limited in robustness and the duration of the transient effects. However, a recent specialized type of rTMS, theta-burst stimulation, patterned to mimic (...)
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  28. Memory Modulation Via Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation: Status, Perspectives, and Ethical Issues.Mirko Farina & Andrea Lavazza - 2022 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 16.
    While research to improve memory or counter decay caused by neurodegenerative diseases has a fairly long history, scientific attempts to erase memories are very recent. The use of non-invasive brain stimulation for memory modulation represents a new and promising application for the treatment of certain disorders [such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ]. However, numerous ethical issues are related to memory intervention. In particular, the possibility of using forms of non-invasive brain stimulation requires to distinguish treatment interventions from the enhancement of (...)
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  29. In the Event of History: Reading the Mime of Memory in the Present of Public History.Premesh Lalu - 2021 - Kronos 47 (1):1-24.
    Premesh Lalu's 'In the Event of History' was written in 2000, before the publication of his first book, The Deaths of Hintsa: Postapartheid South Africa and the Shape of Recurring Pasts in 2009, as a preparatory statement for his doctoral study on which it was based. 'In the Event of History' is published here for the first time, lightly revised. While the outlines of the argument of the Hintsa book are clear enough, it is addressed, as it is not in (...)
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  30. Translating Worlds: Migration, Memory, and Culture.Md Mujib Ullah - 2022 - Perspectives 30 (1):178-179.
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  31. Visuospatial, Rather Than Verbal Working Memory Capacity Plays a Key Role in Verbal and Figural Creativity.Runhao Lu, Yanna Zhang, Naili Bao, Meng Su, Xingli Zhang & Jiannong Shi - 2022 - Thinking and Reasoning 28 (1):29-60.
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  32. Confirmation Bias in Information Search, Interpretation, and Memory Recall: Evidence From Reasoning About Four Controversial Topics.Dáša Vedejová & Vladimíra Čavojová - 2022 - Thinking and Reasoning 28 (1):1-28.
    Confirmation bias is often used as an umbrella term for many related phenomena. Information searches, evidence interpretation, and memory recall are the three main components of the thinking proces...
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  33. Ageing Together: Interdependence in the Memory Compensation Strategies of Long-Married Older Couples.Celia B. Harris, John Sutton, Paul G. Keil, Nina McIlwain, Sophia A. Harris, Amanda J. Barnier, Greg Savage & Roger A. Dixon - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    People live and age together in social groups. Across a range of outcomes, research has identified interdependence in the cognitive and health trajectories of ageing couples. Various types of memory decline with age and people report using a range of internal and external, social, and material strategies to compensate for these declines. While memory compensation strategies have been widely studied, research so far has focused only on single individuals. We examined interdependence in the memory compensation strategies reported by spouses within (...)
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  34. The Impact of Different Types of Auditory Warnings on Working Memory.Zhaoli Lei, Shu Ma, Hongting Li & Zhen Yang - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    Auditory warnings have been shown to interfere with verbal working memory. However, the impact of different types of auditory warnings on working memory tasks must be further researched. This study investigated how different kinds of auditory warnings interfered with verbal and spatial working memory. Experiment 1 tested the potential interference of auditory warnings with verbal working memory. Experiment 2 tested the potential interference of auditory warnings with spatial working memory. Both experiments used a 3 × 3 mixed design: auditory warning (...)
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  35. The Effects of Reward on Associative Memory Depend on Unitization Depths.Chunping Yan, Qianqian Ding, Meng Wu & Jinfu Zhu - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    Previous studies have found that reward effect is stronger for more difficult to retrieve items, but whether this effect holds true for the associative memory remains unclear too. We investigated the effects and neural mechanisms of the different unitization depths and reward sets on encoding associative memory using event-related potentials, which were recorded through a Neuroscan system with a 64-channel electrode cap according to the international 10–20 system, and five electrodes were selected for analysis. Thirty healthy college students took part (...)
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  36. American Cultural Memory, Mourning, and the Possibility of Peace.Cassie Premo Steele - 2004 - Intertexts 8 (1):1-13.
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  37. On the Contemporary Disintegration of Cultural Memory.Pascal Michon - 2003 - Intertexts 7 (2):117-129.
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  38. The Doxastic Shear Pin: Delusions as Errors of Learning and Memory.S. K. Fineberg & P. R. Corlett - 2016 - Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 21 (1):73-89.
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  39. Ketamine Effects on Memory Reconsolidation Favor a Learning Model of Delusions.P. R. Corlett, V. Cambridge, J. M. Gardner, J. S. Piggot, D. C. Turner, J. C. Everitt, F. S. Arana, H. L. Morgan, A. L. Milton, J. L. Lee, M. R. Aitken, A. Dickinson, B. J. Everitt, A. R. Absalom, R. Adapa, N. Subramanian, J. R. Taylor, J. H. Krystal & P. C. Fletcher - 2013 - PLoS ONE 8 (6):e65088.
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  40. Working Memory Development: A 50-Year Assessment of Research and Underlying Theories.Nelson Cowan - 2022 - Cognition 224:105075.
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  41. The Automatic Processing of Social Information in Working Memory.Jifan Zhou, Tiange Xu, Xinying Zhao, Jiaqian Chen, Yang Zhao, Huyun Dong & Meng Zhang - 2021 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 150 (11):2321-2345.
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  42. Memory-Limited Model-Based Diagnosis.Patrick Rodler - 2022 - Artificial Intelligence 305:103681.
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  43. Daniela Flesler and Adrián Pérez Melgosa. The Memory Work of Jewish Spain. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 2020. 390 Pp. [REVIEW]Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo - 2022 - Critical Inquiry 48 (3):627-628.
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  44. Beyond Historicism and Universalism: Epic, History, and Memory.Verónica Tozzi Thompson - 2022 - History and Theory 61 (1):161-171.
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  45. Episodic memory and the feeling of pastness: from intentionalism to metacognition.Denis Perrin & André Sant’Anna - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-26.
    In recent years, there has been an increasing interest among philosophers of memory in the questions of how to characterize and to account for the temporal phenomenology of episodic memory. One prominent suggestion has been that episodic memory involves a feeling of pastness, the elaboration of which has given rise to two main approaches. On the intentionalist approach, the feeling of pastness is explained in terms of what episodic memory represents. In particular, Fernández has argued that it can be explained (...)
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  46. Bearing Witness to Traumatic Memory: An Ethical Approach to Ken Liu’s Speculative Fiction “the Man Who Ended History – a Documentary”.Meng Xia - 2022 - Angelaki 27 (2):100-113.
    This article looks at the problematic witnessing envisioned in Chinese American writer Ken Liu’s speculative fiction “The Man Who Ended History – A Documentary,” in which the back-to-the-past virtu...
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  47. Sedimentation, Memory, and Self in Hegel and Merleau-Ponty.Elisa Magrì - 2021 - In Cynthia D. Coe (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of German Idealism and Phenomenology. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 361-383.
    This chapter explores the concept of sedimentation in Hegel’s account of absolute knowledge in the Phenomenology of Spirit drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s 1954–55 course notes on institution and passivity. The chapter first identifies the notion of sedimentation that informs Merleau-Ponty’s reflections on institution. Such a sedimentation involves a non-egoic modality of retention that activates critical thinking. The chapter then explains why absolute knowledge in the Phenomenology of Spirit rests on a process of sedimentation that is very much in line with Merleau-Ponty’s (...)
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  48. The Embers of Memory.Nataliya I. Kuznetsova - 2022 - Russian Studies in Philosophy 59 (6):473-488.
    This article, for which the focus is an intellectual autobiography, examines the development of worldview of a young person who graduated from the Moscow University Faculty of Philosophy in 1970. I...
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  49. Reading the Inscriptions of Our Lifeworld: Transgenerational Existence and the Metaphysics of the Grave.Natan Elgabsi - 2022 - Philosophy Today 66.
    This existential phenomenological exploration concerns how writing is not the mere tool for communication and commemoration, or the supplementary image of a memory, but is closely connected to the phenomenon of the grave. The exploration aims to show a transgenerational mode of human existence and moral life, by considering how the becoming of a historical, which is to say a transgenerational subject through the features that writing and the grave together lets us capture, is also importantly bound to the becoming (...)
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  50. Internalism, Memory, and Skepticism.Brett Coppenger - 2019 - In Kevin McCain & Ted Poston (eds.), The Mystery of Skepticism: New Explorations.
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