TitleThe Technology of Relating to the Past and the Conditions of Memory
Publication Type03. Journal Papers
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsFritzsche, A.
AbstractDepending on the modality of the argument, memory can be a source of influence from an indeterminate past or a means of reference to the historical conditions of human life. The historic perspective is strongly related to the Enlightenment. Based on recent contributions to the philosophy of technology, which describe thinking in terms of tools and machines as a general human activity, historic memory can be interpreted as a technical approach to the past. Similar to the determinate operations in technology, the references to the past though the exhibits of museums, the contents of archives, and similar means dominate reflection about the past. The mind has to move around them. Nevertheless, they require additional effort to become usable in their function for memory. Technicians illustrate this effort in their role as enablers of tools and machines. Similarly, curators and archivists can be understood as enablers of relation to the past, in museums, archives, etc. The efforts of technicians can be categorized according to different concepts of rationality. In the discussion about memory, the impact of museums, archives, and other enabling circumstances for memory is yet rather unclear. The comparison with technology can serve as an inspiration for further research in this direction.