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Aristotle ON MEMORY AND REMINISCENCE Complete

Translated by J. Beare.

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Hence not only human beings and the beings which possess opinion or intelligence, but also certain other animals, possess memory. If memory were a function of (pure) intellect, it would not have been as it is an attribute of many of the lower animals, but probably, in that case, no mortal beings would have had memory; since, even as the case stands, it is not an attribute of them all, just because all have not the faculty of perceiving time. Whenever one actually remembers having seen or heard, or learned, something, he includes in this act (as we have already observed) the consciousness of 'formerly'; and the distinction of 'former' and 'latter' is a distinction in time.

Accordingly if asked, of which among the parts of the soul memory is a function, we reply: manifestly of that part to which 'presentation' appertains; and all objects capable of being presented (viz. aistheta) are immediately and properly objects of memory, while those (viz. noeta) which necessarily involve (but only involve) presentation are objects of memory incidentally.

One might ask how it is possible that though the affection (the presentation) alone is present, and the (related) fact absent, the latter-that which is not present-is remembered. (The question arises), because it is clear that we must conceive that which is generated through sense-perception in the sentient soul, and in the part of the body which is its seat-viz. that affection the state whereof we call memory-to be some such thing as a picture. The process of movement (sensory stimulation) involved the act of perception stamps in, as it were, a sort of impression of the percept, just as persons do who make an impression with a seal. This explains why, in those who are strongly moved owing to passion, or time of life, no mnemonic impression is formed; just as no impression would be formed if the movement of the seal were to impinge on running water; while there are others in whom, owing to the receiving surface being frayed, as happens to (the stucco on) old (chamber) walls, or owing to the hardness of the receiving surface, the requisite impression is not implanted at all. Hence both very young and very old persons are defective in memory; they are in a state of flux, the former because of their growth, the latter, owing to their decay. In like manner, also, both those who are too quick and those who are too slow have bad memories. The former are too soft, the latter too hard (in the texture of their receiving organs), so that in the case of the former the presented image (though imprinted) does not remain in the soul, while on the latter it is not imprinted at all.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/aristotle/memory-reminiscence.asp?pg=3