Authors
Devin Sanchez Curry
West Virginia University
Abstract
Descartes held the following view of declarative memory: to remember is to reconstruct an idea that you intellectually recognize as a reconstruction. Descartes countenanced two overarching varieties of declarative memory. To have an intellectual memory is to intellectually reconstruct a universal idea that you recognize as a reconstruction, and to have a sensory memory is to neurophysiologically reconstruct a particular idea that you recognize as a reconstruction. Sensory remembering is thus a capacity of neither ghosts nor machines, but only of human beings qua mind-body unions. This interpretation unifies Descartes’s various remarks (and conspicuous silences) about remembering, from the 1628 Rules for the Direction of the Mind through the suppressed-in-1633 Treatise of Man to the 1649 Passions of the Soul. It also rebuts a prevailing thesis in the current secondary literature—that Cartesian critters can remember—while incorporating the textual evidence for that thesis—Descartes’s detailed descriptions of the corporeal mechanisms that construct sensory memories.
Keywords Descartes  Sensory memory  Animal spirits  Machine psychology  Mind-body union
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2018.03.001
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References found in this work BETA

Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 2006 - In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.

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Scientia, Diachronic Certainty, and Virtue.Saja Parvizian - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9165-9192.

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