Memory: mathematics, computer science, literature

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Memory: mathematics, computer science, literature

20 November 2013 @ 10:00

Memory is not only a fundamental faculty for the construction of knowledge and, therefore, for the reproduction of living. It is also many other different things as different are its meanings, places, media and

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20 November 2013 @ 10:00

Room “Ignazio Ambrogio” – Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures – University Roma Tre

Memory is not only a fundamental faculty for the construction of knowledge and, therefore, for the reproduction of living. It is also many other different things as different are its meanings, places, media and practices or the techniques to study the ways in which it manifests itself and acts in the various areas of knowledge or political uses. It is therefore crucial to work for a critical analysis of the interdependencies between the various memories, especially between the external and the subjective memory, including storage tools and techniques of self-construction, between the multiplicity of contexts and the discovery of invariants.




Giuseppe Longo: “Memory and meaning construction in mathematics”

Mathematics is a science of invariants and transformations that preserve the invariants. As an essential component of anticipation, memory is the invariant of the action. Anticipation extracts the memory invariant from a changing environment, having as a goal the next action. Such a contextual meaning represents the conceptual constructions of mathematics seen not as isolated from the other forms of knowledge, but attributing to the first maximum stability, both in practical and historical terms. The recognition of the invariance of mathematical structures in the fluidity of the processes has therefore a mythopoeic character. Myth and mathematics are so associated as they are capable to relate our being in the world (physical) to our human community of communication.


Teresa Numerico: “For a genealogy of digital memory”

There is an enormous difference and a complex relationship between digital and human memory. The latter is associative and reconstructive, imaginative and more active and dynamic; something quite far from the rigidity of electronic memory, which preserves every bit in a precise and inscrutable mapping. Two devices that share quite a little except their name. The term “memory”, in fact, appears as an intricate semantic cloud acting on our ability to perceive and organize our ability to remember while re-organizing itself every time. Public and private archives, personal and collective traces are activated in a bustle of references that transform our relationship with ourselves and with our memory machines.


Francesco Fiorentino: “Memoirs of Literature”

As Plato’s already complained in his Phaedrus, the practice of writing involves the weakening of individual memory, as a need to change from the typical to the singularity. Yet, the issue of writing produced within itself a space in which the singularity is preserved in the typical, where the mobility of individual memory is preserved in the fixity of the written text while transcending it. Such a place can be described as literature. Plato formulated his critique of writing in a written text, exploited the intertextual vocation of literary discourse to overcome the fixity of hypomnemata and made the text work as a stimulus for an anamnestic reading. In this way, writing becomes a medium of singular remembrance of singularity. But such a discourse may value for each medium of memory.


Info on Speakers


Giuseppe Longo is Director of Research, affiliated to the CNRS and the École normale supérieure. Trained as a logician, he extended its interdisciplinary interests in the philosophy of mathematics, biology and cognitive science. His research group “complexité et information morphologiques” (CIM ) deals with the foundational problems at the interface between mathematical physics and biology.


Teresa Numerico, is researcher in logic and philosophy of science at the University of Roma Tre where she teaches history of logic and epistemology of science and new media. Her publications include: Alan Turing and the intelligence of machines (Franco Angeli, 2005) and a book on search engines Web dragons (with I. Witten and M. Gori , Morgan Kaufmann, 2007) and The digital humanist (with Fiormonte D. and F. Tomasi , il Mulino , 2010). Her research interests range from philosophy, computer science, information technology, social ethics and politics of communication technologies.


Francesco Fiorentino teaches German literature at the University of Roma Tre. He is specifically interested in twentieth century German literature and theater, as well as issues concerning cultural studies and literary theory.

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