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On Memory And Reminiscense   


Acts of recollection, as they occur in experience, are due to the

fact that one movement has by nature another that succeeds it in

regular order.

If this order be necessary, whenever a subject experiences the

former of two movements thus connected, it will (invariably)

experience the latter; if, however, the order be not necessary, but

customary, only in the majority of cases will the subject experience

the latter of the two movements. But it is a fact that there are

some movements, by a single experience of which persons take the

impress of custom more deeply than they do by experiencing others many

times; hence upon seeing some things but once we remember them

better than others which we may have been frequently.

Whenever therefore, we are recollecting, we are experiencing certain

of the antecedent movements until finally we experience the one

after which customarily comes that which we seek. This explains why we

hunt up the series (of kineseis) having started in thought either from

a present intuition or some other, and from something either

similar, or contrary, to what we seek, or else from that which is

contiguous with it. Such is the empirical ground of the process of

recollection; for the mnemonic movements involved in these

starting-points are in some cases identical, in others, again,

simultaneous, with those of the idea we seek, while in others they

comprise a portion of them, so that the remnant which one

experienced after that portion (and which still requires to be excited

in memory) is comparatively small.

Thus, then, it is that persons seek to recollect, and thus, too,

it is that they recollect even without the effort of seeking to do so,

viz. when the movement implied in recollection has supervened on

some other which is its condition. For, as a rule, it is when

antecedent movements of the classes here described have first been

excited, that the particular movement implied in recollection follows.

We need not examine a series of which the beginning and end lie far

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