October 13, 2013
History & Systems
First Short Examination:
Plato vs. Augustine on Memory
Assignment: Plato and Augustine use memory in ways that are comparable and incomparable. What is the role or function of memory in their respective psychological writings? What are their differences? If they disagree, indicate how they would criticize each other's work.
Augustine begins describing memory as that of a house. He describes it as being a place where images, ideas and memories are kept. They can be accesses and stored, re-used and deposited as needed. Our memories can never be taken away from us, as they exist in all things in the past and present. Augustine believed that memories have always been in his mind, even before he could recognize them as his own. Augustine states in Book X, chapter 10, "It must have been the they were already in my memory, hidden away in its deeper recesses, in so remote a part of it that I might not have been able to think of them at all, if some other person had not brought them to the fore by teaching me about them" (Augustine, 1992).
Memories that are neglected slip back to distant parts of the mind, and then begin to evolve in order to be created into new memories.
Augustine focuses on the ability to search for God in his memory. Augustine finds trouble while attempting this search, and suggests that God may in fact be outside of memory. Augustine realizes that God in fact, cannot be found through the powers of memory. However he feels consequences for not being able to find God. He describes the difficultly that he has with searching for memory by saying in Book X, chapter 17, "How, then, am I to find...