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Heideggers understanding of memory - Essay Example

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In the present essay, the Heidegger’s understanding of memory is examined. It is stated in the text that the collection of short lectures which Heidegger wrote towards the end of his career is given the somewhat awkward title "What Is Called Thinking?" in English…
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Heideggers understanding of memory
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Download file to see previous pages Heidegger starts with a clear definition of memory: “Memory is the gathering of thought”. It soon becomes clear that even words like “thought” have very specific meanings for Heidegger, and the way he goes about changing our assumptions of these concepts is to trace them back to their origins in ancient Greek, Latin and early Germanic languages and cultures. He traces ancient connection between the words “think” and “thank” and points out that originally thinking was regarded as a much more devotional, and almost religious experience. The book’s translator adds that Heidegger rejects notions that thinking is “having an opinion or a notion … representing or having an idea … ratiocination or developing a chain of premises which lead to a valid conclusion .., [or] conceptual or systematic”. These ideas all have their place and represent aspects of human mental activity but for Heidegger thinking is an engagement between the person who is doing the act, and that which is being thought. The memory of a person gathers up all that most provokes and this is the true start to the activity that he would call thinking.
There are a few difficulties for English speaking readers in trying to follow Heidegger’s definitions of memory because he refers to some culturally specific items like a classically inspired poem by the German author Hoelderlin which deals with the Greek mythological being Mnemosyne, who is said to be the mother of all the Muses. Via this literary reference Heidegger maintains that memory is a creative force. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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