Philosophy and Memory Traces: Descartes to Connectionism

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Porous Memory 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. John Sutton juxtaposes historical and contemporary debates to show that psychology can attend to culture, complexity, self, and history.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a somewhat unusual book. [Sutton's] discussion of historical materials is for the most part judicious and sensitive to context...this book does suggest a range of avenues for further research: the discussion of John Locke's theory of personal identity is especially stimulating." Bull. Hist. Med.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521039376
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/18/2007
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of abbreviations
1 Introduction: traces, brains, and history 1
App memory and connectionism 19
I Animal spirits and memory traces 21
2 Wriggle-work: the quick and nimble animal spirits 25
3 Memory and 'the Cartesian philosophy of the brain' 50
App. 1 nerves, spirits, and traces in Descartes 102
App. 2 Malebranche on memory 106
II Inner discipline 115
4 Spirit sciences, memory motions 119
5 Cognition, chaos, and control in English responses to Descartes' theory of memory 129
6 Local and distributed representations 149
7 John Locke and the neurophilosophy of self 157
App memory and self in Essay II.27 174
8 The puzzle of survival 177
9 Spirits, body, and self 189
10 The puzzle of elimination 214
III 'The phantasmal chaos of association' 223
11 Fodor, connectionism, and cognitive discipline 228
12 Associationism and neo-associationism 240
13 Hartley's distributed model of memory 248
14 Attacks on neurophilosophy: Reid and Coleridge 260
IV Connectionism and the philosophy or memory 275
15 Representations, realism, and history 280
16 Attacks on traces 298
17 Order, confusion, remembering 317
References 323
Index 367
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