Philosophy of the Arts


Draaisma on memory

So I hear Douwe Draaisma say—in an interview on television—that we have many kinds of memory, at least one per sense organ and then a lot more of them. (I like that model).
And he defines memory as anything we retain from the past to deal with the present. (I like that definition).

And he refers to how sometimes when a smell hits us we are transported back to a situation from the past. And that we don’t have a more direct, or a roundabout means to remember a smell: you cannot think of a smell and have it recur.

I also like the issue this brings up: is a smell something in us who perceive it or is it clearly an object in the world? I think the latter, and what it makes me argue, next, is that something similar goes for sounds (a piece of music), and, I go on, really only visual information seems to be retained in something similar to pictures in our memory, and: following Wittgenstein, I think our memories are in the objects, and we put them there, back in the old days.

“The concept of the ‘inner picture’ is misleading, for this concept uses the ‘outer picture’ as a model …” Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 1953. Philosophical Investigations. Translated by G.E.M. Anscombe. Oxford: Blackwell, p. 196:d.

You must be logged in to post a comment.