Department of Philosophy



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The Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series is pleased to present

Clare Mac Cumhaill
(Durham University)


Date: Thursday, September 19, 2019

Time: 4:00 pm

Watson Hall, Room 517


Abstract: Re-encountering certain kinds of artworks in the present (re-listening to music, re-reading novels) can often occasion a candidate form of recollection akin to episodic recollection but which I argue is better cast as ‘phasic’, at least insofar as one can be said to remember ‘what it was like’ to be oneself at some earlier stage or phase in one’s personal history. The kinds of works that enable such recollection, I call ‘still lives’ - they are self-limiting wholes the formal properties of which are stable over time. In the first half of the talk, I spell out a way of making sense of the peculiar power that certain artworks have to occasion such recollection and I detail three dimensions along which episodic recollection and the phasic recollection as occasioned by re-encountering ‘still lives’ appear to differ. I then go on to explore a challenge for the account, which in turn helps reify my proposal as well as the spectral analogy at the heart of it: Just as one can see regions behind one by looking in the direction of a mirror located in the same space in which one is, sometimes by re-encountering certain kinds of artworks now, past intervals or phases ‘behind one’ can be ‘made present’ in a way that the talk aims to make plain.



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