Memory: A History

ISBN : 9780199793846

Dmitri Nikulin
416 ページ
143 x 211 mm
Oxford Philosophical Concepts

In recent decades, memory has become one of the major concepts and a dominant topic in philosophy, sociology, politics, history, science, cultural studies, literary theory, and the discussions of trauma and the Holocaust. In contemporary debates, the concept of memory is often used rather broadly and thus not always unambiguously. For this reason, the clarification of the range of the historical meaning of the concept of memory is a very important and urgent task. This volume shows how the concept of memory has been used and appropriated in different historical circumstances and how it has changed throughout the history of philosophy. In ancient philosophy, memory was considered a repository of sensible and mental impressions and was complemented by recollection-the process of recovering the content of past thoughts and perceptions. Such an understanding of memory led to the development both of mnemotechnics and the attempts to locate memory within the structure of cognitive faculties. In contemporary philosophical and historical debates, memory frequently substitutes for reason by becoming a predominant capacity to which one refers when one wants to explain not only the personal identity but also a historical, political, or social phenomenon. In contemporary interpretation, it is memory, and not reason, that acts in and through human actions and history, which is a critical reaction to the overly rationalized and simplified concept of reason in the Enlightenment. Moreover, in modernity memory has taken on one of the most distinctive features of reason: it is thought of as capable not only of recollecting past events and meanings, but also itself. In this respect, the volume can be also taken as a reflective philosophical attempt by memory to recall itself, its functioning and transformations throughout its own history.


Introduction. Memory in Recollection of Itself. Dmitri Nikulin
Ch.1. Memory in Ancient Philosophy. Dmitri Nikulin
Reflection: Roman Art and the Visual Memory of Greece. Francesco de Angelis
Ch.2. Memory in Medieval Philosophy. Jorn Muller
Reflection: Visual Memory and a Drawing by Villard de Honnecourt. Ludovico Geymonat
Ch. 3. Memory in the Renaissance and Early Modern Period. Stephen Clucas
Reflection: Memory and Forgetfulness in Daoism. Xia Chen
Ch. 4. Forms of Memory in Classical German Philosophy. Angelica Nuzzo
Reflection: Memory and Story-Telling in Proust. Mieke Bal
Ch. 5. Memory in Continental Philosophy: Metaphor, Concept, Thinking. Nicolas de Warren
Reflection: Freud and Memory. Eli Zaretsky
Ch. 6. Trauma, Memory, Holocaust. Michael Rothberg
Reflection: Memory: An Adaptive Constructive Process. Daniel Schacter
Ch. 7. Memory in Analytic Philosophy. Sven Bernecker
Reflection: The Recognitional Structure of Collective Memory. Axel Honneth
Ch. 8. Memory and Culture. Jan Assmann


Dmitri Nikulin is Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York. His interests range from ancient philosophy and early modern science to the philosophy of dialogue and philosophy of history.