Memory pp 42-50 | Cite as

The Forms of Memory

Part of the Problems of Philosophy book series (PRPH)


Many different philosophers have drawn many different distinctions between many different forms of memory. Broad even goes so far as to say, “The word ‘memory’ is highly ambiguous. … It is quite certain that the word covers a number of very different acts. We talk of remembering a set of nonsense syllables; of remembering a poem; of remembering a proposition in Euclid, though we have forgotten the words in which it was expressed when we originally learnt it; of remembering past events; and of remembering people, places and things” (Mind and Its Place in Nature, p. 221). But this does not show that the words “memory” and “remember” are ambiguous (see Benjamin, “Remembering,” p. 318). The word “insult” also covers a wide range of acts—spoken words, drawings, gestures, actions—but that does not make the term ambiguous. Better to talk not of ambiguities or different senses of the word “remember,” but of different kinds of remembering, different forms of memory.


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© Don Locke 1971

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