Cutting Edge Problems Workshop:
Reminiscence in Aristotle, Freud, and Empiricism
The Chicago Workshop: Material for this workshop includes the Art Exhibit of North American College in Rome
related material, photographs collected prior to the Symposium, and oral histories narrated by participants and classmates.
The reason for our workshop is the renewal of old friendship in memories long past, and the pleasure of discovery in sharing
memories with friends. Other important reasons for working on memories are: establishing Personal Identity, sharing
a Family Past (see Chicago Tribune, 24 June 2004), working on Therapeutic Vision (see Chicago Tribune, 27
June 2004 on Alain de Botton's Status Anxiety, Pantheon Books), Healing the Healer (see Chicago Tribune,
9May 2004 on a conference by Chicago Loyola University's School of Social Work), and taking advantage of a Limited Window
of Opportunity (see Paul Dunn, "Biological Mom, U.S. Man, Unite in Vietnam," in Chicago Tribune, 24 June 2004).
Workshops on Personal Identity: Bowling Green State University held a conference on "Personal Identity," which
took place between 1 and 3 April 2004. Topics included: personal identity in Aquinas and Shakespeare, identity
and autonomy, the rationality of repentence, postmortem survival, separateness of persons, self-conception, self-ownership,
hylomorphic dualism, the beginning of identity, and identity affected by technology. Also, the "Forum on Personal Identity"
is run on the internet by Joe Strout and Bruce Zimov, who note, "The issue of personal identity is debated with increasing
frequency... lends direct relevance to our future," (www.ibiblio.org/jstrout/identity/
). The Reminiscence Center in Blackheath, south-east London, opened in 1987 with its main activities as reminiscence
and life story writing. It serves 30,000 people a year.
Memory: Memory is defined as the capacity of a human being to retain and recall thoughts and experiences which
were had in the past. Classical philosophy was divided: Plato said actual knowledge of the truth was remembrance (anamnesis)
from the soul's pre-life contemplation of ideas, while Aristotle thought memory predisposes necessary material to the intellect
for the abstraction of universal concepts. Aquinas (1221-1274) and Avicenna (980-1037) both held sense memory, but Aquinas
refuted Avicenna's denial of intellective memory. Aquinas argued "Id quod recipitur, secundum naturam recipientis recipitur"
(I, q. 79, a. 6), recalling that Aristotle also held memory of intelligible species.
Metaphysical Method in Aristotle: Aristotle (348-322 BC) treats memory deductively, by division and definition.
His quest is for certitude. He treats false memory of the psychically disturbed, memory exercises, and examines the
process of memory recollection. See Aristotle, On Memory and Reminiscence.
Personalist Memory of St. Augustine: The most passionate promoter of the value of memory was St. Augustine (354-430).
The acts of intellect and will are rooted in memory, and thus memory guarantees the habitual presence of the soul to itself.
Secondly, Augustine uses memory in Trinitarian systematics, so that the memory, intellect, and will refer successively to
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (unlike Lonergan's systematics of "intelligible emanation"). Thirdly, Augustine holds that
memory safeguards the reality of the past.
Ethical Method in Locke: John Locke (1632-1704) treats memory inductively. His quest is for Bible and law,
for conscious guilt or innocence at the Last Judgement. Personal identity goes with consciousness, separate from the
soul. Consciousness has gaps in it, such as the time of sleep. No one can know if one soul has been substituted
for another during this periodof absence of consciousness, says Locke. See William Uzgalis in Stanford Encyclopedia
Psychological Method in Freud: Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) treats memory inductively. His quest is for creativity.
He says no theory "has yet" accounted for memory and forgetting, but gives a theory: "The forgetting in all cases is
proved to be founded on a motive of displeasure." "Proof" is from case studies. See Sigmund Freud, Psychopathology
in Everyday Life (1901). See Frederick Crews, The Memory Wars: Freud's Legacy in Dispute, pages 46, 59,
71, 72, and 93.
Biological Method in Fliess: Wilhelm Fliess, MD, Berlin, numerologist, and friend of Sigmund Freud, developed the
Biorhythm Theory with the Vienna psychologist Dr. Hermann Swoboda and the Austrian mathematician Alfred Teltscher. His
method is inductive, creative, pseudoscientific and "predictive". The theory assesses persons' psysical, emotional,
and intellectual peaks. Three dozen studies have proved the theory wrong (Hines, 1998). See Martin Gardner, Science:
Good, Bad and Bogus (Buffalo N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1981), chapter eleven, "Fliess, Freud, and Biorhythm".
Letters of Freud to Fliess are preserved, much to Freud's dismay, in Origins of Psychoanalysis: Letters to Wilhelm Fliess,
Drafts and Notes, 1887-1902, editors Marie Bonaparte, Anna Freud, and Ernst Kris (London: Imago, 1954).
Therapeutic Method of Reminiscence: Michael Bender, Paulette Bauckham, and Andrew Norris wrote a book entitled:
The Therapeutic Purpose of Reminiscense (list price $130.00) in which they give the history and development of reminiscence-based
activities, in spirituality, in assessment, in treatment, as psychotherapy, for life review, for creation of a positive identity,
and as the philosophy of the treatment unit.
Empirical Method on Memory Formation: "Researchers have used... optical imaging to visualize chages in nerve connections...
complex change of events that leads to the formation of lasting memories... now plan to put florescent genes...," in
National Institute of Health News, 12 May 2004.
Empirical Method on Genetics and Memory: "NIH scientists have shown that a common gene variant influences memory
for events in humans by altering a growth factor in the brain's memory hub," in National Institute of Health News,
23 January 2003.
Empirical Method on Pharmacy and Memory: "Like a key that fits into a lock, neurotransmitters fit into specific
sites, or receptors, studding the surface of brain cells... messages are transmitted... one of the glutamate receptors, found
throughout the brain and involved in numerous learning and memory processes... found that experimental drugs, known as allosteric
modulators... potential new treatments for disorders such as Alzheimer's disease," in NHI News Release, 15 May 2002.
Empirical Method for Memory Health: Several new computer programs are alleged to exercise the mind, which involves
the use of memory and creativity. The Mayo Clinic is in favor of exercising your mind, by some use of memory and
creativity. See the web site: Mayo Clinic.com, 30 April 2003.