Bertrand Russell and Mnemic Causation

by Ted Dace

“It often turns out important to the progress of science,” writes Bertrand Russell, “to remember hypotheses which have previously seemed improbable.”1

If only he’d been true to his word.

On the brink of a genuinely scientific account of the mind, he cobbled together a straw-man substitute and promptly set it alight. His rejection of “mnemic causation,” the influence of the deep past over the present, was intended to clear the way to a materialist concept of mind.

A series of lectures published in 1921, Russell’s Analysis of Mind is geared around the proposal that the mind has no existence apart from sense data. “All psychic phenomena are built up out of sensations and images alone,” he writes.2 “Beliefs, desires, volitions, and so on” turn out to be “sensations and images variously interrelated.”3 Images may seem more mental than tangible, but according to Russell they “have a causal connection with physical objects, through the fact that they are copies of past sensations.”4 Images reduce to sensations, which in turn reduce to the meeting of nerve endings with the external world. From mind to matter in a few easy steps.

Recognizing that modern physics renders the concept of matter as mysterious as mind, Russell asserts that both terms ultimately reduce to a deeper “neutral” substance. Given his caution as a philosopher, it’s no surprise he never completely forecloses on the possibility of mnemic causation.5 Despite the window dressing, however, Analysis of Mind amounts to an attack on the idea that mentality is intrinsically real.

Russell denies that an animal’s search for food can be ascribed to its “mental state, which we cannot observe,” arguing that its apparent hunger is only an “observable trait in the bodily behavior … not some possibly mythical and certainly unknowable ingredient of the animal’s mind.”6 To say animals want to eat is akin to saying “rivers ‘desire’ the sea.” As in the case of water flowing downhill, “if we knew more about animals, we might equally cease to attribute desire to them, since we might find physical and chemical reactions sufficient to account for their behavior.”7 People fare no better in his analysis. “We may regard a human being as an instrument, which makes various responses to various stimuli.”8 Will, he says, is a mirage generated by the “kinesthetic sensations” that accompany muscular movements.9

With self-existence reduced to mechanics, psychology differs from physics only insofar as physics deals with “a given object from different places,” while psychology concerns “different objects from a given place.”10 That place is of course the brain, the location of our subjectivity, though he also locates this phenomenon in “the photographic plate.”11 Russell might have done well to take another look at psychology, as anyone who reduces emotion to a “confused perception” clearly has some inner work to do.12

The chief threat to Russell’s reduction of mind to matter came from his arch rival, Henri Bergson. In his 1911 book, Matter and Memory, Bergson asks why, if images are faded copies of prior sensations, we never confuse the recollection of a loud noise with the sensation of a soft one.13 Unable to answer Bergson’s question, Russell can only observe that we have a “belief-feeling” that a remembered image relates to the past.14 On what basis do we arrive at this belief-feeling? Russell cannot say. How do we acquire our sense of pastness?

The job of the brain, according to Bergson, is to calculate possible actions in response to sensory data.15 Inputs are converted in the most efficient possible way to outputs. That’s all there is to it. Within those cerebral folds, you will find no representations of the world, no emotions, no thoughts, no desires, no psyche. For Bergson, locating the qualities of mind in the brain amounts to a kind of neural mysticism. Is the brain so special as to simultaneously participate in the physical world and yet step outside it to represent it?16

Rather than construct images of the world, says Bergson, our brains merely facilitate our perception of it. Because the brain does its job, we apprehend (roughly) what is around us. Just as we see the world itself rather than a neural reconstruction of it, Bergson argues that in memory we perceive the past, if only in outline. But how can we perceive something that’s no longer there?

“The past has not ceased to exist; it has only ceased to be useful.”17 Bergsonian time is unbroken duration that conveys into the present all that preceded it. “Our most distant past adheres to our present and constitutes with it a single and identical uninterrupted change.”18

The continuous time of the quantum, as expressed in Schrödinger’s wave function, is disrupted via interactions with the local environment. From this we surmise that large-scale existence lies beyond the continuity of the enduring present. As a macroscopic object, the brain is indeed limited to the current moment. By contrast, the mind reflects time as it is, in which past (memory) adheres to presence (consciousness). Because the mind is absolute presence filtered through eons of physical and biological evolution, we possess the power of memory, to take an event no longer materialized and re-present it.

Unable to pinpoint where Bergson’s proposal went wrong, Russell conjured mnemic causation, not quite what Bergson actually said but close enough that in refuting it, he would seem to have shaken off his nemesis without even mentioning him by name. Alluding to the work of German zoologist Richard Semon, Russell explains his idea. “Whenever the effect resulting from a stimulus to an organism differs according to the past history of the organism, without our being able actually to detect any relevant difference in its present structure, we will speak of ‘mnemic causation.'”19

A child who has been burned, says Russell, reacts differently to fire than a child with no such experience. If the memory of being burned leaves no trace in the brain, but the child nonetheless reacts to fire in accord with prior experience, this indicates the direct influence of the remote past over the present with no material intermediary.20

By proposing that mnemic causation is indicated by the absence of any neural change reflecting a prior event, Russell rigged the results in advance. As we now know, and as Russell surely anticipated, the brain harbors “memory traces” correlated with past events. By materialist assumption, these neural configurations record the past. It may not work exactly like magnetic tape, but the result is the same.

A logician by training, Russell should have realized that mnemic influence in no way implies the absence of “any relevant difference” in brain structure. This is the inverse of the fact that the brain’s necessity for the act of recall falls short of sufficiency. Russell makes this point himself, observing that our dependence on brains for memory doesn’t prove that recollection is a strictly neural process or that memories are stored in brain tissue.22 So too the action of the distant past on the present, even if necessary to account for memory, still leaves a role for the brain.

Russell’s plan seems to have been to dispose of Bergson’s past-within-a-present so as to arrive at Semon’s concept of the engram as the only possible explanation of memory. A kind of neural engraving, the engram is the change in the brain’s resting state following an event such as being burned. It’s the engram that makes the child more alert and therefore less likely to be burned again.22 Semon’s explicit denial that engrams could be regarded as “immaterial or metaphysical” must have been music to Russell’s positivist ears.23

By attributing “mnemic phenomena” exclusively to the engram, Russell could fully incorporate memory into neurophysiology. Like knowledge, images and habits, memories exist only when aroused from the brain by the appropriate stimulus.24 As opposed to a mind obeying the laws of mnemic causation, we have a brain governed by “causation of the ordinary physical sort.”25

Semon, as it happens, wrote the book on mnemic phenomena (taking his cue from Mnemosyne, goddess of memory and mother of the muses). As he writes in The Mneme, “Already existing engrams are never remolded but remain as they were first imprinted.”26 The engram’s defining trait, stability over time, not only accounts for memory but helps explain the general stability of the organism in the face of the dominant tendencies of transformation and evolution.27

Yet it’s precisely their stability that makes engrams wholly unlike anything neuroscientists have actually uncovered. Every time someone remembers an event, the relevant memory trace loses its structure and must be “reconsolidated” from scratch. As John McCrone explains in New Scientist, “Resurrecting a memory trace appears to render it completely fluid, as pliable and unstable as the moment it was first formed, and in need of fixing once again into the brain’s circuitry.”28 If something interferes with reconsolidation, such as high voltage current or a protein-blocking drug, the memory can never be accessed again. This finding, which has been consistently replicated, baffles researchers since it means a memory, once recalled, is lost to the brain and must be re-established on the basis of nothing more than the actual recall, however cloudy, of the past event itself. Just when we become conscious of it, the memory is irreducible to information encoded in the brain. How can this be?

Regardless of how hard scientists try to impress memory into gray matter, it pops back up, bobbing on the ethereal sea of mind. Though facilitating recollection, the brain does so without storing and retrieving information about the past. And why should it? After all, the whole point of remembering something is that you don’t have to look it up. To construe the brain as an organic reference library is to banish memory and replace it with mere information storage. The fact that recollection may indeed revitalize past perception is only a problem for the materialist outlook.

Semon proposed another concept, known as mnemic homophony, that accounts for memory far better than the engram. Russell praises Semon for this ingenious idea, not for its application to habits and recollections but its explanation of how the richness of experience is rendered into abstractions, a process that befuddled philosophers as diverse as Berkeley and Hume.29

Semon compares the emergence of abstraction to the process of composite photography, in which the same frame of film is repeatedly exposed to different scenes.30 So long as they’re close enough in form, mental images in succession generate a fuzzy general image. Each time you see an oak tree, for instance, it calls to mind all the other times you’ve seen one, and this new image is superimposed on the rest, producing a composite picture you think of as “oak tree.”

Neither Russell nor Semon saw the contradiction between mnemic homophony and the engram. As material structures, engrams cannot simply blend into each other to form vague composites. While mental images may exhibit vagueness or fuzziness, matter always conforms to the principle of identity: x = x. An object is exactly itself, no more and no less. A vague object would lose this exact relation, being only somewhat itself and somewhat not. Of course, composite photographs always look a little fuzzy, but the picture itself, as a material object, cannot help but be precisely itself, its “fuzziness” solely in our interpretation of the picture.

The coexistence of successive perceptions in a single generalized perception cannot give the brain the ability to construct generalized bits of gray matter. Mnemic homophony was Russell’s worst fear realized, for it revealed where mind fails to fit into matter.

Semon and Russell’s resistance to the irretrievably immaterial nature of mnemic homophony placed them at odds with modern physics. Why base a theory of reality on matter when matter turns out to be some kind of space-stuff called fields? Descartes’s reduction of causation to contact mechanics went out with Newton, a fact confirmed in the nineteenth century with the onset of electromagnetic field theory.

Mnemic homophony gives us memory without the need for neural engravings. Semon always thinks of Capri when he smells a particular cooking oil because he once happened to catch a whiff of it from a nearby restaurant as he gazed at Capri across the Bay of Naples.31 No information storage is required, only the principle that any given mental state is influenced by similar previous states. Rather than encoding information about past events, the memory trace only matches whatever pattern of synaptic transmission took place during the original event, serving as a marker or sign that facilitates recall, re-establishing in consciousness a sense of the prior event much as radio antennae monitor the long-range influence of electromagnetism.

Recent neural research confirms that memory involves similarity between past and present patterns of brain activity. During the act of learning, neurons establish connections with each other. When we remember the moment the learning took place, something like the original pattern of connections is reinstated. However, as University of California researcher Jeff Johnson reports in Neuron, reinstatement of prior neural patterns takes place even when recall is limited to the learned information itself, without any details about the moment it was acquired.32

Like Russell, Johnson wants to know how the brain accounts for our sense of pastness. Since reinstatement applies not only to memory but knowledge, which is devoid of any sense of the past, neural similarity alone can’t provide an answer. If recall is more than just synaptic rearrangement but the actual revitalization of past experience, the problem dissolves. We sense a depth to time precisely in the act of plumbing it.

Recall is often a struggle. Instead of arriving all at once, the memory creeps in. First we get the general sense of it, and gradually the details emerge like the tissues of an embryonic organ. Though not at all what we’d expect from a data storage system, this is exactly what we’d expect from a tuning system. The signal is first captured and then strengthened.

Whereas episodic memory involves conscious recall, habit-memory is the unconscious cumulative effect of past behaviors on current behavior. Semon illustrates the role of mnemic homophony in habit with a game of fetch. Each time his owner cocks his arm, the dog understands he’s going to throw the stick. Even if he doesn’t actually toss it but only pretends, the dog chases the chimera because his owner’s gesture has awakened its memory of when he actually did toss the stick. Of course, this works only so many times. Before long the dog refuses to run until it has perfect homophony between the new stimulus and the old stimulus, i.e. when it actually sees the stick emerge from the hand. Habitual behaviors are activated by mnemic homophony, whether rough or perfect, between current and past circumstances.33

When musician Kristin Hersh and her band recorded for the first time in a “fancy” studio, she found herself unable to reproduce her usual vocal intensity because, as she explained to the engineer, when she performed live or in her usual practice space, she was relaxed enough to let go and allow the song to sing itself. In contrast to the song’s voice, her own voice was self-conscious and forced. The recording engineer’s first adjustment was to remove her voice from her headphones so she wouldn’t be screaming in her ears, but the intensity of the song’s voice remained elusive. What finally worked was simply to let her play guitar while singing, completing the homophony of her current performance with the abstracted essence of prior performances. Only then did Throwing Muses roar to life.34

We all know we usually have to repeat a newly learned procedure before it becomes “automatic.” But if the instruction is inscribed on neural tissue, why isn’t once enough? Stored information is a digital phenomenon; the data’s either encoded or it’s not. Semon’s memory is analogue, each performance of a procedure increasing the odds of it coming to mind with the relevant stimulus.

Like Darwin before him, Semon found the idea of evolution implausible without the ability of organisms to inherit and build upon the behavioral and bodily modifications implemented by forerunners.35 Otherwise, ongoing adaptations to changing conditions play no role in evolution. This is why, in The Mneme, he reports on salamanders coaxed into either holding their young in utero longer than usual or releasing them early, in both cases their progeny carrying on the newly-altered behavior.36 He also reports on trees transplanted from temperate to tropical regions and vice versa, either way their new adaptations cropping up in offspring.37 Echoing Darwin’s observations on farm animals, he observes that praying mantis populations grow more tame with each generation in captivity despite the absence of selection for this trait.38

Austrian theorist August Weismann tried to refute a plethora of such claims by cutting off the tails of hundreds of mice and noting the continued growth of tails in their offspring.39 Yet experiments demonstrating inheritance of acquired traits succeeded precisely because researchers induced organisms to make the changes themselves, just as the environment, rather than mechanically imposing new behaviors, prods creatures into actively adapting.

This debate has long since been superseded by the sheer weight of evidence. We now know that when fertilizers tinker with the growth cycle of a crop, the new pattern of growth continues appearing for generations.40 Defensive spines built up by Daphnia water flea in the vicinity of predators continue emerging in offspring never exposed to this threat.41 A Dutch study has found reduced lifespan among people whose grandparents, in their youth, gorged themselves during rare seasons of overabundance.42

The question is no longer whether adaptations are inherited but how. Since none of these examples involve genetic changes, biologists refer to the phenomenon as “epigenetic inheritance,” whereby newly acquired traits are passed on via modifications of chromosomes or even cytoplasm. Semon’s belief that migrating engrams transmit traits by altering germ cells may not be so far-fetched after all. But mnemic homophony gives us another option. If past and present can be connected on the basis of similarity within an individual lifespan, why not across generations as well?

You would never suspect, reading Russell, that Semon insists on the inheritance of adaptations or that he denies the reduction of memory to a machine-like process. With his “law of ecphory,” Semon contends that in contrast to machinery, which requires a complete input to produce a complete output, a memory can be fully realized even when the trigger, such as the smell of cooking oil, contains only a hint of the original event.43 He notes that embryos, again in stark contrast to machines, can weather “large and arbitrary subtractions” of their tissues and resume normal development as if nothing happened.44

Russell was too committed to establishing Semon’s materialist credentials to notice where he and Bergson overlapped. Many years later the task of synthesizing Semon and Bergson fell to a young biologist in training at Cambridge University, a theoretical nonconformist who took a year off from his laboratory work to study philosophy at Harvard. Unlike Russell, whose reading of Bergson was colored by professional rivalry, Rupert Sheldrake was captivated by Bergson’s radical take on time and its implication for memory. By coupling Bergson’s enduring present with Semon’s mnemic homophony, Sheldrake obtained the basis for a scientific theory of mentality, the very prize Russell sought in his Analysis of Mind.

Designed to explain organic development from egg to maturity, Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance is based on his Bergsonian reading of Semon. Where “mnemic” emphasizes the emergence of organic form as a memory-based process, Sheldrake’s use of “morphic” turns it the other way around, highlighting the proposition that nature’s inherent memory operates on the basis of form. The more similar a current organic form to a previous form, the more it resonates with that form.

Sheldrake extended the mnemic principle beyond the brain to the whole organism, including all levels of structure comprising it, such that every organ, every tissue, every cell and organelle reproduces the actions it undertook in previous similar situations. The body-memory that maintains the adult on the basis of its personal past is no different, fundamentally, from the species-memory that guides embryogenesis.

In applying morphic resonance to the embryo, Sheldrake reconfigured memory into a property of species as much as individuals. Thus human embryos develop along the same lines as previous human embryos whereas chimpanzee eggs divide and grow along the lines of previous chimpanzee eggs. Like reciting text from memory, at each passage the embryo simply replicates the actions of its ancestors when they reached that stage. Just as a recollection is associated with a neural memory trace, development from the egg is routed correctly via genetic markers. In neither case, whether neural or genetic, does the marker contain the memory itself.

Morphic resonance is revealed wherever successive generations of a given species improve at a given task without guidance from their parents. The best-documented spontaneous case of this phenomenon concerns birds in Western Europe that learned to open milk bottles. The technique was first observed in 1921 in Southampton, England among blue tits and spread primarily through simple imitation. However, since blue tits rarely travel more than a few miles, it’s unlikely imitation could account for the appearance of this habit in Sweden, Denmark and Holland. “The Dutch records are particularly interesting,” writes Sheldrake. “Milk bottles practically disappeared during the war, and became reasonably common again only in 1947 or 1948. Few if any tits that had learned the habit before the war could have survived to this date, but nevertheless attacks on bottles began again rapidly.”45

Of course, postwar birds may have learned the process again from scratch. For this reason William McDougall’s experiment on learning in rats provides a more compelling example. One of many scientists around the turn of the twentieth century to have demonstrated the inheritance of acquired traits, McDougall placed rats in a water maze and found that each generation solved the maze more quickly than its predecessor. Like Semon, he assumed the animals’ genes were somehow incorporating and transmitting the acquired ability. But when the experiment was replicated, first in England and then Australia with rats unrelated to McDougall’s, the tendency for improvement continued as before, an outcome inexplicable except in light of species-memory via morphic resonance.46

Long-range memory has also been revealed in tests on human subjects, for instance non-Japanese speakers who were better able to memorize authentic Japanese nursery rhymes than rearranged nonsensical versions.47 According to Sheldrake this result follows from the fact that untold millions of people have already learned the rhymes, and anyone trying to memorize the correct versions is influenced by their cumulative experience. When subjects of another experiment were shown Persian words for ten seconds, some real and some only Persian-like fakes, and then asked to recall the words, they fared significantly better at reproducing the real words.48

Flabbergasted by Sheldrake’s audacious proposal, neuroscientist Steven Rose designed an experiment that would surely dispose of it once and for all. The experiment involved day-old chicks divided into two groups, test chicks allowed to peck at yellow diodes and control chicks that pecked at chrome beads. After pecking the diodes, the test chicks were injected with lithium chloride, a toxic substance that made them mildly nauseous, while control chicks were injected with a harmless saline solution. The same procedure was followed for 37 days with a new batch of chicks each day. The data indicated that successive batches of test chicks became gradually more hesitant to peck relative to control chicks.

While this finding indicated the influence of previous experience, the most compelling result concerned control chicks given the choice of pecking at either the yellow diodes or the chrome beads. Over the course of the experiment, successive batches of these chicks became increasingly reluctant to peck at the diodes, suggesting that they were influenced by the cumulative experience of chicks that had pecked at the diodes and then been injected with lithium chloride. After stalling for months, Rose reneged on his agreement to write up the results with Sheldrake for publication.49

Needless to say, a handful of anecdotes and unrepeated experiments falls short of proof. While interesting, Sheldrake’s theory remains largely untested. But at least it has the potential to explain development from the egg. The same cannot be said of the quaint notion that DNA is a blueprint or recipe for building an organism.

Around the time he was mutilating mice in a misguided effort to refute the inheritance of adaptations, August Weismann proposed that organisms develop from the egg on the basis of information transmitted from parents via “determinants” (now known as genes).50 Though subsequent research seemed to confirm this idea, the gains in molecular biology that fleshed out Weismann’s theory would ultimately abolish it.

A theory is scientific insofar as it reduces a complex phenomenon, such as the organization of a living body, to something simple like information stored in DNA. At the core of Weismann’s proposal was the assumption that genes are relatively simple static structures that generate the developmental machinery which, in turn, produces the immensely complicated systems that comprise the organism.51 Different species are differently formed because each kind has a unique set of genes and therefore a unique developmental pathway.

Neither Weismann nor any of his intellectual descendants anticipated that developmental or “homeobox” genes would turn out to be virtually identical in species ranging from insects to people. As we learn from the field of “evo-devo,” what changes in the course of evolution is not so much the genes themselves but the regulatory DNA that switches them on and off to ensure that development is species-appropriate.

Usually adjacent to the homeobox genes they regulate, epigenetic tags or “switches” operate at blinding speed. According to molecular biologist Sean Carroll, typical developmental processes involve “tens of thousands of switches being thrown in sequence and in parallel.”52 The operation of switches is so complex that they can be analyzed only with combinatorial logic. “Because the combination of inputs determines the output of a switch, and the potential combinations of inputs increase exponentially with each additional input, the potential outputs of switches are virtually endless.”53 Every switch position and associated pattern of protein production is but a snapshot, a single frame in “one hell of a movie with nonstop action.”54

Imagine a forest overflowing with lightning bugs except that this forest is actually produced by the incomprehensibly complex and ever changing patterns of lightning bug flashes. Altering this pattern alters the shape of the forest. This, according to molecular biology, is how our bodies develop.

Whether we’re looking at cycling networks of proteins in a cell or webs of feedback loops governing everything from immune response to patterns of neurotransmission, the number of possible outcomes stemming from any given input is virtually infinite, blocking the way to successful physical analysis. Genes were supposed to be the exception, something we could bring within our orbit of comprehension. Now we find that the computation of genetic activity escalates infinitely, leaving us with the absurdity of reducing one complexity to another.

But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that a given set of complex genetic operations does lead, in a purely mechanical fashion, to a given bodily form. The problem here is that we’ve only pushed the question back a step: what gives rise to the complex pattern of gene activity in the first place? We’re back to morphic resonance, except that now, instead of newly developing organs resonating with previous organs under similar conditions, current genetic expression resonates with prior genetic expression. Whether or not the whole reduces to the gene, the organism is still explained by resonance and not genetics. It’s a reduction alright but to the past rather than the small.

In light of mnemic reduction, there’s no longer a compelling reason to characterize the organism in terms of its genes. Instead, both gene expression and organ development are informed by similar past activities. Rather than construct higher-level structure, the genetic level does just what it appears to do, pumping out the proteins required by cells to carry out their tasks. That certain proteins are necessary for the emergence of certain phenotypic traits in no way implies gene-protein sufficiency in the shaping of the organism.

Despite having captivated generations of biologists, Weismann’s proposal has no potential as an explanatory theory. Sheldrake, on the other hand, reduces the body’s stupendous complexity to an elementary property of nature, a kind of inertia of organic form. With the demise of the DNA-based theory, morphic resonance is the only game in town.

Since we don’t feel like machines, it’s odd that Russell had such faith in the reduction of organisms to mechanized assemblages of atoms. The most compelling data in opposition to this belief are generated daily by that ongoing half-baked experiment we call life. Unlike materialism, the mnemic theory makes room for the mind as a thing in itself, the seat of self-existence. We appear to be thinking, feeling, freely acting people – and not genetically programmed organic robots – because we are in fact people leading meaningful lives.

Russell clung to materialism like a child to his mother. By contrast Bergson and Sheldrake realized it’s precisely against matter that memory is defined. With memory freed from the smothering embrace of matter, mind is at last made sensible.

So long as it’s restricted to the brain, the mind can be dismissed as mere shadow play. Only when extended throughout the body does it find its home. Mentality is associated with every organ, guiding development and maintaining form via resonance with similar previous forms. The brain differs from other organs only insofar as it’s attached to sense organs and therefore involves awareness. Where brain-mind is at least partly conscious, gut-mind operates entirely in the dark.

“Mind and body” is more phrase than reality. We have two words for the same thing because we see body-mind from two perspectives, one in terms of space and the other in terms of time. As the body is the spatialized surface of the mind, the mind is the temporal depths of the body. Accordingly, death is where the body loses its mind, where matter and memory cease to be united.

What the ancients called soul or spirit has been translated in modern consciousness as the immaterial element of life. But we don’t have to define organic memory in the negative, any more than body-mind must be defined as the unconscious. The immaterial element is simply the influence of the remote past on the present. Previous actions undertaken in situations most resembling the current situation are the ones most likely to materialize.

The abstract image of “oak tree” in human thought is only a faded reflection of the deeper biological process whereby former explications of growing oaks overlap into a developmental map accessible to every sprouting acorn. Whereas the individual mind is the seat of imagination, species-mind is the seat of living formation.

Wedded to the dual reduction of the world to tangible matter and timeless law, Russell missed the message of the mind, which is neither one nor the other. In the end he got it wrong because he just had to be right.


  1. Russell, Bertrand, The Analysis of Mind, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1921, p 92
  2. Ibid, p 279
  3. Ibid, p 300
  4. Ibid, p 110
  5. Ibid, p 89
  6. Ibid, p 63
  7. Ibid, p 64
  8. Ibid, p 255
  9. Ibid, p 285
  10. Ibid, p 105
  11. Ibid, p 130
  12. Ibid, pp 283-284
  13. Bergson, Henri, Matter and Memory, London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1911, pp 318-319
  14. Russell, p 159
  15. Bergson, p 20
  16. Ibid, p 11
  17. Ibid, p 193
  18. Bergson, Henri, The Creative Mind, New York: Philosophical Library, 1946, pp 180-181
  19. Russell, p 86
  20. Ibid, p 77
  21. Ibid, p 91
  22. Ibid, pp 79-83
  23. Semon, Richard, The Mneme, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1921, p 275
  24. Russell, p 88
  25. Ibid, p 90
  26. Semon, p 240
  27. Ibid, p 14
  28. McCrone, John, ‘Not-so total recall,’ New Scientist, May 3, 2003, p 27
  29. Russell, pp 218-219
  30. Semon, p 164
  31. Ibid, p 92
  32. Johnson, Jeffrey D, et al, ‘Recollection, Familiarity, and Cortical Reinstatement: A Multivoxel Pattern Analysis,’ Neuron, 63, 2009, pp 697-708
  33. Semon, p 156
  34. Hersh, Kristin, Rat Girl, New York: Penguin, 2010, pp 288-291, 308-310
  35. Semon, p 290
  36. Ibid, pp 58-60
  37. Ibid, p 64
  38. Ibid, p 133
  39. Gould, Stephen Jay, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2002, p 201
  40. Durrant, Alan , ‘The association of induced changes in flax,’ Heredity, 32, 1974, pp 133-143
  41. Young, Emma, ‘Rewriting Darwin: the new non-genetic inheritance,’ New Scientist, July 9, 2008, pp 28-33
  42. Cloud, John, “Why DNA Isn’t Your Destiny,” Time, January 18, 2010, p 50
  43. Semon, p 124
  44. Ibid, p 177
  45. Sheldrake, Rupert, The Presence of the Past, New York: Times Books, 1988, p 178
  46. Ibid, p 175
  47. Ibid, p 189-190
  48. Ibid, p 192
  49. Sheldrake, Rupert, ‘An Experimental Test of the Hypothesis of Formative Causation,’ Rivista di Biologia – Biology Forum, 86, 1992, pp 431-44. Available from: (Accessed Jan 2 2014)
  50. Gould, p 207
  51. Bertalanffy, Ludwig, Modern Theories of Development: An Introduction to Theoretical Biology, London: Oxford, 1933, pp 32-33
  52. Carroll, Sean B, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2005, p 114
  53. Ibid, p 124
  54. Ibid, p 128