Remembering as Public Practice: Wittgenstein, memory, and distributed cognitive ecologies

In V. A. Munz, D. Moyal-Sharrock & A. Coliva (eds.), Mind, Language, and Action: proceedings of the 36th Wittgenstein symposium. De Gruyter. pp. 409-444 (2014)
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Abstract

A woman is listening to Sinatra before work. As she later describes it, ‘suddenly from nowhere I could hear my mother singing along to it … I was there again home again, hearing my mother … God knows why I should choose to remember that … then, to actually hear her and I had this image in my head … of being at home … with her singing away … like being transported back you know I got one of those … like shivery feelings really suddenly’ (Anderson 2004, 9-10). An older couple, discussing their honeymoon forty years ago, each say that they can’t remember the show they saw, until through iterative, puzzled cross-cuing they finally get there – ‘Desert Song, that’s it’ (Harris et al 2011, 292). An elderly English veteran of a prisoner of war camp in Japan, finishing up morning tea with a young Japanese social scientist interested in reconciliation, suddenly calls out loudly - in Japanese - ‘stand to attention’. He stands to attention in front of her: like many of the men she interviews, he physically re-enacts fragments of that long-past world of the camp, bringing that absent past into this new present context with a visceral shock (Murakami 2001, 2012; Middleton & Brown 2005, 133-136).

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