X-Message-Number: 17957
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 08:22:22 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #17949 - #17956

Hi everyone (again):

It seems that Cryonet is getting into subjects in which I am interested.
The most interesting of these is by Scott Badger.

First of all, I'd like to know his sources. I ask this because my own
reading, in neuroscience rather than philosophy, suggests that we DO
have several kinds of memories which differ distinctly in the brain
regions which perform them, but do not claim to coincide at all with
those given by the people he quotes.

It's easy to come up with different kinds of memories. The important 
thing, if true, is to work out just how and why our thinking is 
organized in that way... and naturally, to prove that we do have 
such kinds of memories. There are different names for these different
kinds, but basically they come down to the same things:

	ability to learn conditioning
	  (many animals can do this: it is response to a new stimulus)
	ability to learn individual facts without remembering when
	  (we all have memories, say of X tables)
	ability to learn occurrence of complex incidents and recount them
	  (known as declarative memories)
	ability to learn and use one's experiences in new circumstances

All of these occur in animals, with the simplest ones almost universal
and the later ones relatively rare, only among primates and possibly a
few others. They also have the feature that their type can be proven to
exist not just in human beings (who unfortunately may make up all kinds
of notions) but experimentally in animals. Furthermore, the brain regions
engaged in these different kinds of memories are being worked out.

Since I describe results of experimental work, it is possible that
new varieties may be described. However I do not see in any of these
the classes listed by any of the people listed by Scott Badger, and 
would wonder whether some of these may not be combinations of memory
with other desires/wishes. If Scott looks for a neuroscience book
published RECENTLY which discusses memory he'll find a discussion 
of memory on the lines I have just outlined. The exact terms for
these memories won't always be the same.

I will also add that I do not put on this list several kinds of 
short term memory. We do have short term memory for many more experiences
than those we remember long term. We also have special short term
memories to think about different subjects. Both of these are 
important but not long term, and in that sense (supposing it
could be done, which is not obvious) we might lose those abilities
and then have them restored by future medicine with no loss. Loss
of memories of the kind I list above, however, means that we've
lost some content of our experience.

		Best wishes and hopes for long long life to all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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