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7 March, Buki Fatona: Memory, Cognitive Neuroscience, and The Embodied Remembrance of God

On 7 March, Revd Buki Fatona (Oxford University) will deliver a talk for the HPP/IRC seminar entitled '“Do this in Remembrance of me”: Memory, Cognitive Neuroscience, And The Embodied Remembrance of God in Liturgical Action.'

Time: 5pm-6:15pm

Venue: Theology Lecture Room, Gibson Building, Radcliffe Humanities Quarter, Oxford

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

ABSTRACT: In this seminar, I explore implications of a constructivist model of memory for liturgical theology. Recent findings in cognitive neuroscience challenge the classical model of memory in philosophy as a storage device wherein memories are imprinted from experience and reproduced when remembering. It appears, however, that remembering past events consists in active (re)constructions in the present in a similar manner and via the same mechanisms as imagining the future. This means, counterintuitively perhaps, that one can successfully simulate memory of an event without a prior experience of that event. Further, as I argue and drawing on an enactivist theory of cognition, active (re)constructions of the past in memory are generated via an organism’s embodied interactions with, and navigations of, its environment. A constructivist-enactivist model of memory has hitherto unexplored implications for liturgical theology. In exploring these implications, I go on to argue that anamnesis—tha

t is, the liturgical action of celebrating the Eucharist in remembrance of Christ—is better explained by a constructivist-enactivist model of memory than by the classical model. 

BIO Buki Fatona is nearing completion of a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford in Theology (Science and Religion). Her research brings together her degrees in Microbiology (BSc); Theology (BA); and Epistemology, Ethics, Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science (MSc). In her work, she examines memory systems in antiquity (Aristotle’s); medieval period (Augustine’s and Thomas Aquinas’) via the lens of contemporary cognitive neuroscience. It is a work which draws on her knowledge of, and passion for, classics; ancient and medieval science and philosophy of mind; contemporary philosophy of memory and cognitive neuroscience.


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