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9. LECTURE IX. MEMORY (continued)
One reason for treating memory at this early stage is that it seems to be involved in the fact that images are recognized as "copies" of past sensible experience. In the preceding lecture I alluded to Hume's principle "that all our simple ideas in their first appearance are derived from simple impressions, which are correspondent to them, and which they exactly represent." Whether or not this principle is liable to exceptions, everyone would agree that is has a broad measure of truth, though the word "exactly" might seem an overstatement, and it might seem more correct to say that ideas APPROXIMATELY represent impressions. Such modifications of Hume's principle, however, do not affect the problem which I wish to present for your consideration, namely: Why do we believe that images are, sometimes or always, approximately or exactly, copies of sensations? What sort of evidence is there? And what sort of evidence is logically possible? The difficulty of this question arises through the fact that the sensation which an image is supposed to copy is in the past when the image exists, and can therefore only be known by memory, while, on the other hand, memory of past sensations seems only possible by means of present images. How, then, are we to find any way of comparing the present image and the past sensation? The problem is just as acute if we say that images differ from their prototypes as if we say that they resemble them; it is the very possibility of comparison that is hard to understand.* We think we can know that they are alike or different, but we cannot bring them together in one experience and compare them. To deal with this problem, we must have a theory of memory. In this way the whole status of images as "copies" is bound up with the analysis of memory.
* How, for example, can we obtain such knowledge as the following: "If we look at, say, a red nose and perceive it, and after a little while ekphore, its memory-image, we note immediately how unlike, in its likeness, this memory-image is to the original perception" (A. Wohlgemuth, "On the Feelings and their Neural Correlate with an Examination of the Nature of Pain," "Journal of Psychology," vol. viii, part iv, June, 1917).
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