Emotions of Animals and Humans

Part of the series The Science of the Mind pp 265-276


The Logic of Memory and the Memory of Logic: Relation with Emotion

  • Philippe CodognetAffiliated withInformation Technology Center, JFLI-CNRS/UPMC/University of Tokyo Email author 

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This chapter considers some historical background in the Western ­history of ideas related to digital technologies, biotechnologies, and the links between them. A series of artificial systems are described and recalled that have been invented throughout the years to help memorizing, sometimes in very strange ways. Indeed the scholarly tradition of the Art of Memory, also called in Medieval times ars memorativa, ars memoria or artificiosae memoriae, was a strand of classical studies that persisted until the Baroque Era but that in fact extended back to Antiquity, as Cicero himself is considered to be the founding father of this discipline. If the effectiveness of those mnemonic systems can be questioned, it is interesting to note that they were designed in a rather systematic, nearly rational manner, but were based in some way on emotional memory. This awkward and rather forgotten branch of philosophy (in the medieval sense) is also linked to the tradition and the quest for a universal or perfect language that created a vivid topic of study from the medieval times up to the utopian seventeenth century. Binary notation, for instance, was invented long before its use in digital computers but was already considered as a universal language. Also discussed is the logical next step after cybernetics and the digitalization of the world for archiving purposes: life sciences and biotechnologies. this new vision is illustrated by a utopian project of using cockroach DNA as the perfect self-duplicating and self-preserving archive.