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Nietzsche on memory

Short, TL; (2014) Nietzsche on memory. Masters thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

It is argued that Nietzsche recognises multiple types and roles for memory. These types and roles must be understood in order to grasp some of his themes. The types are Individual and Organic Memory. The Individual type is composed of Passive Memory { further divided into Imposed and Inhibitory Memory { and Active Memory. The passive aspects are associated with Nietzsche's concept of Slave morality and reactivity. The active aspects are associated with Nietzsche's more positively evaluated, stronger types of individual. Organic Memory is a separate type of memory also present in humans. It is unlike what we commonly understand by the term `memory', for several reasons. It reaches back to past generations: some of our instincts now result from `memories' of actions of our ancestors. Further, it is not restricted to humans. Two of Nietzsche's key themes are Dionysos versus Apollo and his Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence. Both are ways of understanding our psychology and its origins. These themes are examined in the context of his typology of memory. It is argued that the  Ubermensch's ability to a rm the Doctrine is due to his possession of more of the active type of memory. The synthesis of Dionysian and Apollonian drives to form the tragic and then the theoretical is discussed via the suggestion that an excess of Passive Memory produces the resulting deleterious aspects. The ethical project can be seen as a call to use memory more actively. Nietzsche is often invoked in the context of discussions of Collective Memory. It is shown that this is a mistake since Nietzsche does not in fact recognise such a memory type.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Nietzsche on memory
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1421265
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