Wittgenstein and the Memory Debate

New Ideas in Psychology Special Issue: Mind, Meaning and Language: Wittgenstein’s Relevance for Psychology 27:213-27 (2009)
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Abstract

This paper surveys the impact on neuropsychology of Wittgenstein's elucidations of memory. Wittgenstein discredited the storage and imprint models of memory, dissolved the conceptual link between memory and mental images or representations and, upholding the context-sensitivity of memory, made room for a family resemblance concept of memory, where remembering can also amount to doing or saying something. While neuropsychology is still generally under the spell of archival and physiological notions of memory, Wittgenstein's reconceptions can be seen at work in its leading-edge practitioners. However, neuroscientists, generally, are finding memory difficult to demarcate from other cognitive and noncognitive processes, and I suggest this is largely due to their considering automatic responses as part of memory, termed nondeclarative or implicit memory. Taking my lead from Wittgenstein's On Certainty, I argue that there is only remembering where there is also some kind of mnemonic effort or attention, and, therefore, that so-called implicit memory is not memory at all, but a basic, noncognitive certainty.

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2009-11-11

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Danièle Moyal-Sharrock
University of Hertfordshire

Citations of this work

What memory is.Stan Klein - 2015 - WIREs Cognitive Science 6 (1):1-38.
The roots of remembering: Radically enactive recollecting.Daniel D. Hutto & Anco Peeters - 2018 - In Kourken Michaelian, Dorothea Debus & Denis Perrin (eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. New York: Routledge. pp. 97-118.
Memory.Kourken Michaelian & John Sutton - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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