Llull’s “Nine Functions of Memory”

Ramon Llull: “Nine Functions of Memory”; “Memory Training”
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
Llull’s Thought
•    Author of 256 works
•    Mostly interested in persuasion at all intellectual levels of society
o    Persuaded differently for different works/audiences
o    To “save souls”; consistency of personal social convictions less important
•    Multiplicity: wrote on various subjects but not as an expert
•    His methods of presentation evolved, not the number of variations
•    Phases:
o    Pre-art (1272-4)
o    Quarternary (1274-89): first unhappy teaching experience in Paris
•    Cycle of the Ars compendiosa inveniendivertem (Blaquerna)
•    Cycle of the Ars demonstrativa (Felix)
o    Ternary phase (1290-1308): Principles of art appearing in groups of nine
o    Post-Art (1308-15): interest in mechanization of thought is lost in favor of specific logical and philosophical problems
•    Based his arguments on a faith acceptable to Christians, Muslims, and Jews
•    Divine attributes made into cornerstone of his system
o    In Ars brevis: Goodness, Greatness, Eternity, Power, Wisdom, Will, Virtue, Truth, and Glory
•    Structured universe: modus essendi, modus intelligendi
o    Do not constitute the Art, but realte in three ways:
•    Specifies their foundation
•    Uses them as a basis for a modus operandi
•    “Finds” or demonstrates the truth (modus probandi)
•    Five applications for art:
o    “To understand and love God”
o    “To be attached to virtues and to hate vices”
o    “To confound the erroneous opinions of unbelievers by means of cogent reasons”
o    “To formulate and solve questions”
o    “To be able to acquire other sciences in a brief space of time and to bring them to their necessary conclusions according to the requirements of the material”
“Nine Functions of Memory”
1.    Attractive Memory: Attracts species to itself from outside to nourish its own intrinsic act of remembering
1.    Intellect and will can’t acquire any species unless memory naturally participates in acquiring them
2.    Receptive Memory: Receives peregrine species acquired from the outside by the intellect and will to which memory is joined
3.    Conservative Memory: Governance of memory relies upon the balance of memory’s intrinsic and extrinsic habits, without which nothing can be conserved
4.    Multiplicative Memory: Memory reproduces itself in syllables, statements, and syllogisms
5.    Discursive Memory: Stores one species at a time, another at another time
6.    Significative Memory: Receives meanings conveyed to it; things are signified by signs
7.    Restorative Memory: Memory receives species as input and restores them as output
8.    Determinative Memory: Memory defines its acts within the scope of the acts of intellect and will
9.    Complexionative Memory: elemental complextion of memory is cold and dry, but accidentally on account of the body (not sure what this really means…)
“Memory Training”
•    Human memory fails and is unstable
•    Use the alphabet
o    B: natural memory; C:  capacity; D: discrete memory
•    Learning should not exert too much physical stress and avoid excessive frustrations
o    Regulate eating and drinking habits
•    Capacity (memory) will take root in commitment to work
•    Three powers: 1. Fantasy (forehead); 2. Memory (back of head); 3. Discretion (top of head—rules as queen over other 2)
o    capacity<memory<discretion
•    When in lecture, first turn over the ideas you heard/prepared; then commit to memory the second point discussed; finally, write down what you don’t know
•    Two kinds of memory: natural and artificial
o    Natural: received at time of your creation
o    Artificial: 2 kinds
•    Drugs and ointments used to stimulate it (extremely dangerous)
o    Dries out the brain
•    “Chew on it”: must turn ideas over and over—don’t hide them, but be ready to regurgitate it in a more digested form
o    exceeding and frequent repetition


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