Philosophy and Memory Traces: Descartes to Connectionism

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Oktober 2008



Philosophy and Memory Traces defends two theories of autobiographical memory. One is a bewildering historical view of memories as dynamic patterns in fleeting animal spirits, nervous fluids which rummaged through the pores of brain and body. The other is new connectionism, in which memories are 'stored' only superpositionally, and reconstructed rather than reproduced. Both models, argues John Sutton, depart from static archival metaphors by employing distributed representation, which brings interference and confusion between memory traces. Both raise urgent issues about control of the personal past, and about relations between self and body. Sutton demonstrates the role of bizarre body fluids in moral physiology, as philosophers from Descartes and Locke to Coleridge struggled to control their own innards and impose cognitive discipline on 'the phantasmal chaos of association'. Going on to defend connectionism against Fodor and critics of passive mental representations, he shows how problems of the self are implicated in cognitive science.


Part I. Animal Spirits and Memory Traces: 1. Introduction: traces, brains and history; 2. Wriggle-work: the quick and nimble animal spirits; 3. Memory and 'the Cartesian philosophy of the brain'; Part II. Inner Discipline: 4. Spirit sciences, memory motions; 5. Cognition, chaos and control in English responses to Descartes' theory of memory; 6. Local and distributed representations; 7. John Locke and the neurophilosophy of self; 8. The puzzle of survival; 9. Spirits, body, and self; 10. The puzzle of elimination; Part III. 'The Phantasmal Chaos of Association': 11. Fodor, connectionism, and cognitive discipline; 12. Associationism and neo-associationism; 13. Hartley's distributed model of memory; 14; Attacks on neurophilosophy: Reid and Coleridge; Part IV. Connectionism and the Philosophy of Memory: 15. Representations, realism, and history; 16. Attacks on traces; 17. Order, confusion, remembering.


‘This is a remarkable book: elegantly written, impressive with regards to its scholarship and its attention to a wealth of relevant material (historical and contemporary), and exciting innovative in the ideas about memory, as the creative link between self and world.’ Austrailian Journal of Philosophy
EAN: 9780521039376
ISBN: 0521039371
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Oktober 2008
Seitenanzahl: 392 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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