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Part 10 of Mind-Body Philosophy Series at Meditation Center

mind body

By Frank Simons

The 24-part Great Courses series, Mind-Body Philosophy continues at the Meditation Center, as they show part 10 of the series, entitled “Memory, Mind, and Brain, on March 15 at the Center.

This lecture will begin to trace the link between memory and self, starting with a look at different types of memory and the functions they serve.

John Locke, one of the founders of British empiricism, used the term consciousness with its contemporary meaning for the first time in his 1690 “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.: In it, he draws a connection between memory and personal identity. This lecture takes a look at just what memories are as well as Locke’s and others’ views on memory.

There are many types of memory. We use short-term, or working memory, all the time. It is limited to only 15 to 30 seconds, can hold only about seven pieces of information, and occurs behind the forehead, at the front, on the frontal lobes.

For more than 15 to 30 seconds, we need long-term memory, for an appointment next Tuesday, for owing Joe US$10 on the Super Bowl. Remembering how to do something, like shuffling a deck of cards or riding a bike, is called procedural memory, which happens in different parts of the brain.

Remembering specific events—when your mother steps off a train, for example, along with details of the scene—is called episodic memory. Remembering that FDR died before the end of WWII or that you have an appointment is called semantic memory. Episodic and semantic memories are thought of as explicit or conscious memories.

What are memories and where are they located? Not individual neurons but patterns of neurons encode a memory. Every experience fires a particular pattern of neurons, which are stored where they first appeared. Visual data is stored in the visual center, sounds in the auditory center, and so on. Short-term memories are stored and recalled sequentially. Long-term memories are retrieved by association.

An individual neuron may fire when a person sees a picture of the Eiffel Tower. That same neuron fires and, by supposition, the entire cell assembly is activated when a person remembers the Eiffel Tower. It may also fire when the person is asked merely to imagine the Eiffel Tower. The same cell assembly may do the work of perception, memory, and imagination.

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook Patrick Grim has provided his students with invaluable insights into issues of philosophy, artificial intelligence, theoretical biology, and other fields. Grim was awarded the university’s presidential and chancellor’s awards for teaching excellence and was elected to the Academy of Teachers and Scholars.

There will be an opportunity for discussion following the video. Presentations of the Center are offered without charge. Donations are gratefully accepted.


Video Presentation

Mind-Body Philosophy Part 10: “Memory, Mind, and Brain”

Thu, Mar 15, 5:30pm

Meditation Center

Callejón Blanco 4

Free, donations accepted

044 415 156 1950

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