26
Nov
08

Ricoeur’s Memory, History, Forgetting

Paul Ricoeur
Memory, History, Forgetting
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
Preface

Xvi: “In this way, the phenomenology if memory begins deliberately with an analysis turned toward the object of memory, the memory that one hase before the mind; it then passes through the stage of the search for a given memory, the stage of anamnesis, of recollection; we then finally move from memory as it is given and exercised to reflective memory, to memory of oneself.”
Chapter 1: Memory and Imagination
•    Two questions: of what are there memories? Whose memory is it?
•    To remember is to have a memory or to set off in search of a memory
•    What → who → how
•    Memory, reduced to recall, thus operates in the wake of imagination
•    Platonic: speaks of the present representation of an absent thing
o    It argues implicitly for enclosing the problematic of memory within that of imagination
•    Aristotelian: centered on the theme of representation of a think formerly perceived, acquired, or learned, argues for including the problematic of the image within that of remembering
o    Aristotle: “All memory is of the past”
•    Can a man who has learned something not know when he is remembering it?
•    Accept the identification between possessing knowledge and actively using it
o    Holding a bird v. keeping it in a cage
•    Platonic texts on memory: aporetic results and difficulties
o    Absence: explicit reference to the distinctive feature of memory in which the affections of the body and the soul to which memory is attached are signified
o    The relation that exists between the eikon and the first mark
•    Can the relation to the past only be a variety of mimesis?
•    History: trace or imprint?
o    “External” marks of writing: written discourse, image (wax impression), graphic
•    What do we remember: the affection or the thing that produced it?
o    If affection: then it’s not something absent one remembers
o    If the think: then how, while perceiving the impression could we remember the absent think that we are not at present perceiving?
•    Aristotle: distinction between mneme and anamnesis
o    Mneme: arises in the manner of an affection; simple evocation
o    Anamnemesis: active search; effort to recall
3: “If the ‘I’ in the first person singular is too hastily declared the subject of memory, the notion of collective memory can take shape only as an analogical concept, even as a foreign body in the phenomenology of memory.”
7:  “And yet, we have nothing better than memory to guarantee that something has taken place before we call to mind a memory of it.  Historiography itself, let us already say, will not succeed in setting aside the continually derided and continually reasserted conviction that the final referent of memory remains the past, whatever the pastness of the past may signify.”
9:  “The reference to time we might expect from the use of the verb ‘to preserve in memory’ is not relevant in the framework of an epistemic theory that is concerned with the status of false opinion, hence with judgment and not with memory as such.  Its strength is to embrace in full, from the persoective of a phenomenology of mistakes, the aporia of the presence of absence.”
11: “The idea of ‘faithful resemblance’ belonging to the eikastic art will at least have served as a relay.  Plato seems to have noted in the threshold of the impasse, when he asks himself: ‘what in the world do we mean by a ‘copy’?  We lose our way in the enumeration of examples that seem to escape the art of orderly division and, first of all, that of generic definition: ‘What in the world would we say a copy is, sir, except something that’s made similar to a true think and is another think that’s like it?’  But what is the meaning of ‘a true thing’? And ‘another thing’? And ‘like it’?”
14:  “Socrates proposes: ‘that our soul in such a situation is comparable to a book.’  ‘How so?’ asks Protarchus.  The explanation follows: ‘If memory and perceptions concur with other impressions at a particular occasion, then they seem to inscribe words in our soul, as it were.  And if what [the experience] is written is true, then we form a true judgment and a true account of the matter.  But what if what our scribe writes is false, then the result will be the opposite of truth.’”
15:  “To distinguish, not the persistence of memories in relation to their recall, but their simple presence to mind (which I shall later call simple evocation in my phenomenological sketch) in relation as a search.  Memory, in this particular sense, is directly characterized as affection (pathos), which distinguishes it precisely form recollection.”

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