Ancient and Medieval Theories

  • David Bloch
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 12)


Memory and recollection have always been important in very different areas of human experience, and this has profoundly influenced the history of these concepts. Because of this, different traditions of memory and recollection have existed throughout the history of ideas, sometimes taking parallel courses, at other times intersecting with and influencing each other. A purely philosophical tradition was shaped in particular by, and with constant reference to, Plato and Aristotle, and this tradition created different concepts to be used in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science. A rhetorical conception of memory was shaped in a second tradition by ideas like the ones that we find in Cicero’s works and in the Rhetoric to Herennius, but, in contrast with the other views on memory, this was not a dynamic conception, and it remained basically unaltered throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Finally, an ethical tradition that treated memory as part of human prudence had many different sources of inspiration, but perhaps the most important were Plato, Cicero, Neoplatonic authors and Augustine.


Philosophical Tradition Internal Image Ethical Tradition Platonic View Intellectual Object 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saxo-InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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