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Lecture 6B Memory and Knowledge. Dr. Ann T. Orlando. Outline. Memory Knowledge Relation to Imago Dei. Memory in Plato and Aristotle. Plato and Reminiscences ( Meno and Phaedo ) Sense perceptions lead to ‘remembering’ what is eternal (good, beautiful, truth)

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Lecture 6b memory and knowledge

Lecture 6BMemory and Knowledge

Dr. Ann T. Orlando


  • Memory

  • Knowledge

  • Relation to Imago Dei

Memory in plato and aristotle
Memory in Plato and Aristotle

  • Plato and Reminiscences (Meno and Phaedo)

    • Sense perceptions lead to ‘remembering’ what is eternal (good, beautiful, truth)

    • Learning is really remembering

  • Aristotle and Memory (On Memory and Reminiscence)

    • Memory stores images of sense images (tabula rasa)

    • Reminiscence orders and processes the sense images held in memory

    • No connection to eternal ideas

Augustine and memory
Augustine and Memory

  • Memory: the interior ’place’ where ‘time’ is recalled

  • Memory is the ‘place’ of knowledge

    • Platonic understanding of ‘remembering’ knowledge as learning

  • How to ‘remember’ God who is eternal?

  • This is necessary for the Happy Life

Confessions x
Confessions X

  • What is memory

  • How is human memory different from an animal’s memory

  • Memory of sin

  • What is forgetfulness

  • Jesus Christ human and divine as Mediator between eternal and the time-bound

    • Forms bridge into Book XI, the meditation on time

De trinitate
De Trinitate

  • Written 399-410; most likely written for himself

    • Serialized (as was much of his work)

    • Some of it published before he was ready for distribution

  • Primary adversary: Arians

  • Tripartite Division

    • Books I-IV How to interpret Scripture

    • Books V – VII Catholic doctrine argued against Arians

    • Books VIII – XV How we think about God

  • Augustine’s most speculative work

De trinitate the imago dei
De TrinitateThe Imago Dei

  • Note in De Trinitate Augustine traces the inner life of man (anthropology): origins, development, ends

  • Book X.17-18 introduce concept of Memory, Intellect and Will: the imago Dei

  • Book XIV.1-11 how the image becomes perfected

Aquinas on memory st iia iiae q49
Aquinas on MemoryST IIa IIae Q49

  • First note that for Aquinas, following Aristotle, we know through the senses

  • Memory, again following Aristotle, in Aquinas becomes a part of prudence (a. 1)

    • Memory is based solely on experience in time

  • Understanding is also an aspect of prudence (a. 2)

  • For Aquinas prudence is by far the most important acquired virtue

  • Note who is completely missing from this discussion

John calvin imago dei
John CalvinImago Dei

  • The Fall completely destroyed the imago Dei in man

    • Only Jesus Christ and His grace can restore it

    • No analogy between human attributes and God

  • Note arguments against philosophers

  • An example of where Calvin differs from Augustine

  • Institutes I.15, available at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.iii.xvi.html?highlight=memory#highlight

John locke
John Locke

  • Essay Concerning Understanding

    • Tabula Rasa

    • Strong empiricism

  • Role of memory

    • Place where we store observed data

  • Read Essay, Book II, Ch 1, “Of Ideas”

  • Available at http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/locke/locke1/Book2a.html

Gottfried leibniz 1646 1716
Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716)

  • Contemporary of Locke and Newton

  • Lutheran mathematician and philosopher

    • But also sees great value in Scholasticism

    • Wanted to provide philosophical framework to reunite Lutherans and Catholics

  • Discoverer/inventor of calculus

    • Simultaneous with but independent of Newton

    • Highly disputed then and to this day who was ‘first’

Leibniz opposition to locke
Leibniz Opposition to Locke

  • New Essay Concerning Understanding

    • Opposed to Locke

    • Based on Plato and Augustine

    • “His has more relation to Aristotle, and mine to Plato, although we diverge in many things from the doctrines of these two ancients.” 9

Martin heidegger 1889 1976
Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)

  • One of the most influential philosophers of 20th C

  • Early work as a Catholic theologian

    • Breaks with Catholic (scholastic) in 1919; becomes a student of Husserl

  • Augustine Lectures, 1921

  • Being and Time, 1927

  • Becomes as Nazi in 1933; but eventually sent to dig ditches by Nazis in 1944

    • Heidegger’s relation to Nazism still very disputed

  • Along the way he does reject Christianity, or at least accuses Christianity of distorting philosophy, and Greek philosophy of distorting Biblical Christianity

Heidegger augustine lectures
Heidegger, Augustine Lectures

  • Augustine Lectures written as a commentary on Confessions Book X

  • Heidegger attempts of ‘deconstruct’ the Neoplatonic elements of Book X, to retrieve the phenomenology of lived Christianity

    • Heidegger wanted to reconstruct the original lived experience of Biblical Christianity

  • Specific objections by Heidegger

    • God as highest good, beauty is not biblical but Neoplatonic

    • God as experienced in the world is not one of enjoyment, but is found in struggle

  • The work is preceded by Heidegger’s reading of the analysis of Augustine by Troeltsch, Harnack and Dilthey

    • Heidegger says all three tried to “objectify” and historically distance Augustine as an object so study

    • He wants to see Augustine as relevant to today, as an example of what we are living

  • Read Heidegger, The Phenomenology of Religious Life, Trans. Matthais Fritsch and Jennifer Gosetti-Ferencei, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004) pp121-148

Benedict xvi regensburgh speech 12 sept 2006
Benedict XVI, Regensburgh Speech, 12 Sept. 2006

  • This is the ‘infamous’ speech that led to consternation and confrontation in Muslim world

  • Really about religion and science

  • Really, really about opposing dehellenization (retrieval of Platonism) in Christianity

  • Need for cultural memory

  • Read (optional) http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html


  • Memory

  • Augustine,

    • Confessions, X,

    • De Trinitate 1.1, X.17-18, XIV.1-11

  • Aquinas on Memory, ST IIa IIae Q49

  • Calvin on Memory, Institutes I.15, available at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.iii.xvi.html?highlight=memory#highlight

  • Heidegger, The Phenomenology of Religious Life, pp 121-148

  • ad