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Aristotle ON MEMORY AND REMINISCENCE Complete

Translated by J. Beare.

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Memory is, therefore, neither Perception nor Conception, but a state or affection of one of these, conditioned by lapse of time. As already observed, there is no such thing as memory of the present while present, for the present is object only of perception, and the future, of expectation, but the object of memory is the past. All memory, therefore, implies a time elapsed; consequently only those animals which perceive time remember, and the organ whereby they perceive time is also that whereby they remember.

The subject of 'presentation' has been already considered in our work On the Soul. Without a presentation intellectual activity is impossible. For there is in such activity an incidental affection identical with one also incidental in geometrical demonstrations. For in the latter case, though we do not for the purpose of the proof make any use of the fact that the quantity in the triangle (for example, which we have drawn) is determinate, we nevertheless draw it determinate in quantity. So likewise when one exerts the intellect (e.g. on the subject of first principles), although the object may not be quantitative, one envisages it as quantitative, though he thinks it in abstraction from quantity; while, on the other hand, if the object of the intellect is essentially of the class of things that are quantitative, but indeterminate, one envisages it as if it had determinate quantity, though subsequently, in thinking it, he abstracts from its determinateness. Why we cannot exercise the intellect on any object absolutely apart from the continuous, or apply it even to non-temporal things unless in connexion with time, is another question. Now, one must cognize magnitude and motion by means of the same faculty by which one cognizes time (i.e. by that which is also the faculty of memory), and the presentation (involved in such cognition) is an affection of the sensus communis; whence this follows, viz. that the cognition of these objects (magnitude, motion time) is effected by the (said sensus communis, i.e. the) primary faculty of perception. Accordingly, memory (not merely of sensible, but) even of intellectual objects involves a presentation: hence we may conclude that it belongs to the faculty of intelligence only incidentally, while directly and essentially it belongs to the primary faculty of sense-perception.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-Greece/aristotle/memory-reminiscence.asp?pg=2