Descartes distinguishes between sensory memory and intellectual memory

Author/s Tuomo Aho
Publishing Year 2016 Issue 2016/2
Language Italian Pages 25 P. 195-219 File size 678 KB
DOI 10.3280/SF2016-002002
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The author argues that sensory memory resembles the transmission of information in classical Aristotelian theory, whereas Descartes’s intellectual memory, which has often been found puzzling, has analogues in other late scholastic ideas. He seems to use the term ‘intellectual memory’ in several related senses. It can refer to the recollection of symbolic messages, or it can refer to remembering of meanings, mastery of language. However, the term has also a different use: according to the author, intellectual memory takes care of the remembering of the subject’s own states, in other words, reflective memory. Such a view had its origin in the thought of Scotus, and in Descartes’s time it was well-known and popular. It is argued that Descartes’s version of the intellectual memory underscores especially the nature of «spiritual memory» as something maintaining the continuous unity of consciousness.

Keywords: Sensory memory, intellectual memory, mastery of language, reflective knowledge, personal identity, Scotism

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Tuomo Aho, Descartes’s Intellectual Memory in "RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA" 2/2016, pp 195-219, DOI: 10.3280/SF2016-002002