Memory. A word so often said, often thought of, and continuously studied. Yet, we know relatively so little other than how vast and magnificent it is. In Who Will Remember You? A Philosophical History and Theory of Memory and Will, Israel B. Bitton, offers an interdisciplinary perspective that unifies philosophy of memory with history, neuroscience, culture and ethics, yielding novel insights into the elusive phenomena of memory, namely its universality. Bitton posits that the current and typical “misunderstanding of memory” stems from over-specialization in scientific research, a compartmentalization that does not support reaching holistic conclusions which are necessary for fully appreciating the totality of memory phenomena. No longer should memory be thought of as residing only in the brain, for the body is known to have memory too, but neither should it be thought of as exclusively human since it inheres in all matter as a physical and biological fact. Indeed, Bitton extends the philosophical and practical meanings of memory furthest in great detail, employing the latest research in neuroscience to support his case.
In this work, Bitton traces the kernels of these ideas from the ancient Egyptians and Israelites all the way through to the modern period in philosophy, science and popular culture, demonstrating that his philosophical formulation has always been and remains accepted de facto by society as can easily be detected in various social trends. Upon offering his holistic account that considers the magnitude of memory phenomena across several disciplines, Bitton presents a novel theory that postulates the primary human drive as categorized by a will to significance, which, because of the universality of memory becomes a will to memorability. By placing the individual at the center of their own memory-reality, they can be empowered to safeguard, enhance, and extend the universal force of memory within and around them.
From that vantage point, this book provides its audience with ideas meant to provoke and incite the readers’ own reflections on memory’s meaning and import as well as what it takes to be an ethical “memory agent” in an era of hyper-fake news.
Israel B. Bitton is Executive Director of Americans Against Antisemitism, a nonprofit that counters social hatred through data, media, and education.
AcknowledgmentsIntroduction Chapter 1 On Memory and Will: A Theory Chapter 2 Memory and Significance in the Ancient World Chapter 3 Memory and Will from Greco-Roman through Renaissance Periods Chapter 4 Memory and Will from Enlightenment to Modern Periods Chapter 5 Memory in the Modern Period Chapter 6 Memory and Neuroscience Chapter 7 A New Philosophy of Memory and Will Chapter 8 The Wills to Significance and Memorability EpilogueAbout the AuthorBibliography
About the Author