Possible Minds


The Traveler  

‘ only humans can flexibly anticipate their own future mental states of need and act in the present to secure them’, recast episodic memory as one facet of a generic capacity for mental time travel. This capacity ‘allows humans to mentally project themselves backwards in time to re-live events, or forwards to pre-live events’. Neuroscientific evidence is supportive of their conception. Both imaging and clinical studies suggest that the ability to recall episodes from the past shares a common neural substrate with the ability to imagine future scenarios, a ‘core network’……….”


Murray Shanahan, Embodiment and the Inner Life: Cognition and Consciousness in the Space of Possible Minds, Oxford, 2010


My reading for the next couple of weeks. From my perspective it seems an uncannily medieval subject. Psychology looks at episodic memory as an internal autobiographical form of memory; medieval scribes placed this form of internalized memory in the shape of the wild- man on the first full historical entry in British history. The start of historical consciousness and a factual and known past (discuss in boring detail in future how theory regarding memory is used in dating this event by historians and why its accepted as a historical fact).

Similarities and differences between medieval narrative, historical perspectives and psychology are rather fascinating. Wild -man an interesting vehicle for tracing the development of mind in a fragmented, disordered and ever altering state.

The figure is a part of the history of the subject. A way of making a range of subject’s memorable and entertaining for medieval monastic communities. But it also maintained a popularity outside of medieval institutions. Range of factors at play, start to put it into detailed local contexts it seems to fragment into many different things, but this episodic sense past, present and future seems to be a linking feature.

Or so it seems at the moment.