Can Memory Erasure Contribute to a Virtuous Tempering of Emotions?

Filozofija I Društvo 30 (2):257-269 (2019)
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Abstract

The paper deals with a perspective of Christian philosophy on artificial memory erasuse for psychotherapeutic purposes. Its central question is whether a safe and reliable technology of memory erasure, once it is available, would be acceptable from a Christian ethics point of view. The main facet of this question is related to the Christian ethics requirement of contrition for the past wrongs, which in the case of memory erasure of particulary troubling experiences and personal choices would not be possible. The paper argues that there are limits to the ethical significance of contrition in the writings of the leading Christian fathers on the theme, where excessive suffering and inability to forgive oneself for one’s actions is an impediment to the achivement of tranquility of mind and spiritual redemption, rather than a prerequisite for it. The paper thus concludes that there is no hindrance in principle from the Christian ethics point of view to pursuing a voluntary and selective memory erasure as a psychotherapeutic technique once a fully adequate technology is available.

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Aleksandar Fatic
Australian National University

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