Memory as Philosophy: Hegel, Montaigne, and the Philosophical Tradition of Recollection Open Access

Peone, Dustin (2016)

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This dissertation serves two purposes. The first is theoretical: to argue for a philosophical doctrine of memory. The second is historical: to demonstrate that there is a long tradition in western philosophy that embraces such a doctrine of memory, and to show that this tradition extends beyond the era in which it is commonly thought to terminate.In Book One, employing philosophers from Cicero to Bergson, I argue that memory ought to be considered the cognitive faculty central to philosophical speculation. The faculty of reflection has, since Descartes, been considered the faculty central to philosophical thinking. By restoring memory to primacy, we are able to avoid some of the problems of modern philosophy. The stringency of reflective ethics is replaced by a more agile ethics of prudentia. Also, the external, reflective approach to being is replaced by an approach that grasps the inner form of things. In Book Two, I first outline a partial philosophical history of memory and recollection. This history extends through Greek, Roman, and Medieval European philosophy, and terminates with the work of Renaissance figures like Giordano Bruno and Giulio Camillo. My aim is to give strong evidence that a doctrine of memory was central to western philosophy for the majority of its history. It is widely thought that this tradition is replaced by the philosophical method of Descartes. My final two chapters attempt to defeat this misconception by arguing that the philosophical tradition of memory extends far beyond the Cartesian Revolution. Here, I closely analyze two figures: Michel de Montaigne and G.W.F. Hegel, both of whom I attempt to situate within this tradition. I argue that their respective works should be read with an awareness of this tradition. These two figures represent, both chronologically and philosophically, the beginning and end of an era sometimes referred to as "Early Modern Philosophy," the era between Descartes and Kant. Understanding their works in terms of a doctrine of memory serves both to demonstrate something new about the project of modernity in general and to contribute a novel perspective to scholarship on Montaigne and Hegel.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: Remembering Memory 1

PART ONE: Theory

CHAPTER ONE: The Idea of Memory 19

1.1. The Origins of Wisdom 20

1.2. What Memory as Philosophy Is Not 30

1.3. What Memory as Philosophy Is 48

1.4. Forgetting 78

1.5. Memory in the Technological World 90

PART TWO: History

CHAPTER TWO: The Memory Tradition 104

2.1. The Speculative Line 106

2.2. The Technical Line 127

2.3. Theatrum Mundi 144

CHAPTER THREE: Montaigne's Monstrous Memory 162

3.1. Criticism of Ars memoriae 164

3.2. Memory as Philosophy in the Essays 174

3.3. Writing and Memory 195

CHAPTER FOUR: Hegel's Philosophical Recollection 204

4.1. Hegel and Ars memoriae 208

4.2. Erinnerung in the Phenomenology 214

4.3. Hegel's Later Works 233


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