April 2018 Philosophy Drive-In

Our April Philosophy Drive-In was amazing!  A packed house…our  ecclectic group of philosophy & movie-lovers enjoyed a “night under the stars without the cars,” good snacks, great conversation, and a viewing of the intriguing autobiographical account of the life and work of Eric Kandel in In Search of MemorySome of the things we explored during our post-film discussion included:

  • Why might a life lived/experienced in fragments be harmful? Is there not value in
    compartmentalizing (even if only temporarily valuable)?
  • What implications does the statement “we are who we are because of what we learn & remember” have for individuals who experience issues with learning/acquiring knowledge, issues with memory loss, other?
  • What implications might Kandel’s statement have about the biological basis of the motto “never forget” have on the debate about monuments? Might removing statues/monuments be akin to removing history…and possibly memory about such history?
  • The Bulgarian researcher’s description of discovering the growth factor
    being like falling in love is analogous to a discussion by Socrates (via Diotima)
    about the love of ideas, wisdom, and truth in Plato’s Symposium. Have you
    ever thought of discovery in this way? And might there be value in thinking
    of love in such a way? Does love “as discovery” add value to how we might
    conceive of love with our partners? And, if so, how might this impact our
    behavior and appreciation of our relationships with others?
  • And more…


Read a synopsis of the film as well as some of the philosophical questions raised here!

Check out pics from our philosophy drive-in below!

 Film Trailer & Synopsis

In Search of Memory is a a compelling blend of autobiography and history that recounts the life of one of the most important neuroscientists of the 20th century and illuminates scientific developments in our understanding of the brain’s role in recording and preserving memory. In addition to archival footage and dramatic re-creations of Kandel’s childhood experiences in Nazi-occupied Vienna and his formative years as an emigrant in New York, the film features discussions with Kandel, friends and family, as well as his public lectures in Vienna and New York, which explore both his professional and personal life, especially his emotional ties to Judaism.  Both through its personal journey into the memory of this amazingly spry and witty 79-year old, especially his traumatic experiences during the Holocaust, and a visit to his Columbia University laboratory, where Kandel and his colleagues demonstrate their experimental research, In Search of Memory examines how the brain stores memories, the difference between short-term and long-term memory, Alzheimer’s and age-related memory loss, and structural modifications to the brain that enhance memory.  In revisiting the people, places and objects of Kandel’s lifetime experiences, In Search of Memory reveals how everything we undergo changes the brain, even our genetic make-up, and can determine the focus of a life’s work.


Thank you to the Philosophy Learning & Teaching Organization (PLATO) for supporting philosophy in the community and helping us bring activities like these to the Helena community!

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