Assignment Philosophy of Memory Prof. Blustein Fall 2021 Paper #2: This paper should be 10-12 pages in length. Although I have given you permission to

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Assignment Philosophy of Memory
Prof. Blustein
Fall 2021

Paper #2:

This paper should be 10-12 pages in length. Although I have given you permission to write on any topic of philosophical significance having to do with the issues discussed this semester, you may find the following list of possible topics helpful. If you choose to write on a topic not on the following list, you must get my prior approval.

The due date for the paper is December 13 by 11:59 pm. Please send it to me in docx format.

1. The distinction between treatment and enhancement underlies the distinction between different types of memory modification. What is the moral significance of this distinction? Are there significant differences, morally speaking, between modes of memory modification that enhance and those that treat? If so, what are they?

2. Though the notion of collective memory is widely accepted in the social sciences, objections have been raised in both social science and philosophy to the very idea of a “collective” memory. It is said, for example, that memory resides in the minds of individuals and that it is only metaphorical to speak of a collective memory. Do you think that memory can truly be something that a collective possesses? How can you make best sense of this idea?

3. The slogan “Never again” is often pronounced in the aftermath of some human atrocity, like the Holocaust or the genocide in Armenia or Rwanda. It is believed by those who speak it to be not just an aspiration but a moral obligation of memory. But what is the basis of this obligation? That is, what argument(s) can you give for why it is morally incumbent on us to remember such catastrophes, especially in light of the fact that the efficacy of the slogan in preventing atrocities is questionable?

4. Memorials are material expressions of memory, and they include things like statues, public spaces, plaques, and public buildings. What is their moral significance? Why do memorials so often attract such passionate devotion or rejection? And what is the point and value of memorials, especially given that their meaning might be forgotten within a generation or two?

5. Collective memory can be historical, that is, it can be the collective memory of an event that is historically significant in the life of the group. The memory that Americans have of the landing on the moon is such a memory. But as Wertsch argues, collective memory is different from history, though both are about the past. What are the key differences and why are they significant?

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