Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830-1890

By Jenny Taylor; Sally Shuttleworth | Go to book overview

4. Memory

OF MEMORY

Dugald Stewart, Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind ( 1792), 6th edn., 2 vols. ( London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1818), i. 403-7.

Dugald Stewart's work in the philosophy of mind profoundly influenced nineteenth-century psychology. In particular, his discussion of memory in Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind set up the basic terms of all subsequent discussion. This extract is from the beginning of chapter 6.

The word Memory is not employed uniformly in the same precise sense; but it always expresses some modification of that faculty, which enables us to treasure up, and preserve for future use, the knowledge we acquire; a faculty which is obviously the great foundation of all intellectual improvement, and without which, no advantage could be derived from the most enlarged experience. This faculty implies two things: a capacity of retaining knowledge; and a power of recalling it to our thoughts when we have occasion to apply it to use. The word Memory is sometimes employed to express the capacity, and sometimes the power. When we speak of a retentive memory, we use it in the former sense; when, of a ready memory, in the latter.

The various particulars which compose our stock of knowledge are, from time to time, recalled to our thoughts, in one of two ways: sometimes they recur to us spontaneously, or at least, without any interference on our part; in other cases, they are recalled, in consequence of an effort of our will. For the former operation of the mind, we have no appropriated name in our language, distinct from Memory. The latter, too, is often called by the same name, but is more properly distinguished by the word Recollection. [...]

It is evident, that when I think of an event, in which any object of sense was concerned, my recollection of the event must necessarily involve an act of Conception. Thus, when I think of a dramatic representation which I have recently seen, my recollection of what I saw, necessarily involves a conception of

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Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830-1890
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xiii
  • List of Illustrations xix
  • Section I Reading the Mind 1
  • 1. Physiognomy 8
  • 2. Phrenology 25
  • 3. Mesmerism 49
  • Section II The Unconscious Mind and the Workings of Memory 65
  • 1. Associationism and Physiological Psychology 73
  • 2. Dreams 102
  • 3. Double Consciousness 123
  • 4. Memory 141
  • Section III The Sexual Body 163
  • 1. Defining Womanhood 169
  • 2. the Uterine Economy 184
  • 3. Masculinity and the Control of Sexuality 209
  • Section IV Insanity and Nervous Disorders 225
  • 1. Moral Management and the Rise of the Psychiatrist 231
  • Section V Heredity, Degeneration, and Modern Life 285
  • 1. Nervous Economies: Morbidity and Modernity 293
  • 2. Concepts of Descent and Degeneration 303
  • 3. Inherited Legacies: Idiocy and Criminality 322
  • 4. Childhood 335
  • 5. Race and Hybridity 352
  • 6 Sex in Mind and Education 373
  • Notes on Authors 389
  • Select Bibliography 413
  • Index 423
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