Aristotle’s notion of memory: is it still relevant today?
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now finished
What is the course about?
Memory is the capacity to retain and retrieve information. Today memory is studied in philosophy and psychology. However, in Aristotle’s time there was no such division of the sciences and Aristotle’s account is the first scientific investigation of memory. But is it relevant to our current understanding of memory? Students will become acquainted with the gist of Aristotle’s treatise ‘On Memory and Recollection’ and a first inquiry into memory as a cognitive capacity.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We will begin by briefly looking at Aristotle’s relation to Plato – the historical background to his treatise. Students will become familiar with the Aristotelian notions of memory (mnêmê) and recollection (anamnêsis) and the main points in his treatise: how time experience is related to both memory and recollection; how memory relates to perception and to thought; the role of imagination (phantasia) in memory and recollection; and memory in animals. Aristotle’s theory bears some similarity to the British Empiricists, but has it stood the test of time? We will debate on whether his account is relatable to current views on episodic memory, as some Aristotelian scholars claim (J. Annas, 1992), or whether his treatise is too limited to bear any relation to contemporary views in philosophy and psychology (D. Bloch, 2007).
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Understand and discuss the main points in Aristotle’s theory of memory and recollection
Debate on whether Aristotle’s theory of memory and recollection is still relevant today.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and no prior knowledge is required. The tutor will use a flexible approach to meet students’ needs.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is a live online course and will run in a seminar format. The tutor will give initial presentations, followed by Q&A and open discussion. Power-point presentations and other materials will be available for personal study.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
None. Bring a pen/pencil & notebook, and a sense of curiosity for exploring Aristotle’s views on memory.