Belief, memory, and identity: How do they work?
February 12, 2019 7:44 PM   Subscribe

What are the best philosophical works (including novels) you've read that touch on belief (the nature of, not the content of), memory, and identity?
posted by perhapses to Religion & Philosophy (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Proust.
posted by praemunire at 8:15 PM on February 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia by Su Meck

"In 1988 Su Meck was twenty-two and married with two children when a ceiling fan in her kitchen fell and struck her on the head, leaving her with a traumatic brain injury that erased all her memories of her life up to that point. Although her body healed rapidly, her memories never returned. Yet after just three weeks in the hospital, Su was released and once again charged with the care of two toddlers and a busy household."
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 8:41 PM on February 12, 2019

Kazuo Ishiguro and Memory by Yugin Teo

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Rashomon directed by Akira Kurasawa

The Feeling of What Happens
by Antonio Damasio

These are a few off the top of my head.
posted by rw at 9:04 PM on February 12, 2019

Gosh, it seems like a lot of writers and thinkers and novels could fit into this category.. but here's the first few names that came to mind when i read your question -

Ammiel Alcalay
Edward Said
Walter Benjamin
James Baldwin
Alice Walker
Dorothy Allison

I think they all fit the memory and identity parameters well, the belief one.. maybe a bit less?

I don't know the more i think about your questiom it seems anything could fit. Tell us a bit more about your parameters maybe?
posted by elgee at 10:19 PM on February 12, 2019

Best answer: Douglas Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid; also I Am A Strange Loop and (with Daniel C. Dennett) The Mind's I are all usefully provocative in this direction, as is Dennett's own Consciousness Explained.
posted by flabdablet at 10:42 PM on February 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ian Hodder's The Leopard's Tale: Revealing the Mysteries of Catalhoyuk delves into possible origins of identity, meaning, domestic spatiality and much more. I read it from an archaeological viewpoint but it it much more. Also has great bibliography; the bib may be more valuable than the content for many - I often start a textbook in bibliography.
posted by unearthed at 1:58 AM on February 13, 2019

The Lathe Of Heaven, LeGuin
posted by thelonius at 2:51 AM on February 13, 2019

Best answer: Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald
posted by icy_latte at 10:10 AM on February 13, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions. The abstract of this article gets at where I'm trying to go, although it leaves out belief, which I think is equally important in the feedback loop.
posted by perhapses at 7:02 PM on February 13, 2019

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