In keeping with the empirical aspect of his philos- ophy, Aristotle, in his On Memory, explained mem- ory and recall as the results of sense perception. This contrasts with Plato’s explanation, which was essentially nativistic. Remembering, for Aristotle, was a spontaneous recollection of something that had been previously experienced. For example, you see a person and remember that you saw that per- son before and perhaps engaged in a certain con- versation. Recall, however, involves an actual mental search for a past experience. It was in conjunction with recall that Aristotle postulated his laws of asso- ciation. The most basic law of association is the law of contiguity, which states that when we think of something, we also tend to think of things that were experienced along with it. The law of similarity states that when we think of something, we tend to think of things similar to it. The law of contrast states that when we think of something, we also tend to think of things that are its opposite. Aris- totle said that on rare occasions a strong association can be formed between two events after experi- encing them together just once. Typically, however, the more often events are experienced together, the stronger will be their association. Thus, Aristotle implied the law of frequency, which states that, in general, the more often experiences occur together, the stronger their association will be. According to Aristotle, events can be associated naturally, such as when thunder follows lightning, or by custom, such as learning the letters of the alphabet or associating a certain name with a certain person. In both cases, it is generally the frequency of occurrence that determines the strength of association.
our purpose is to think rationally, and therefore, doing so brings the greatest happiness. However, humans are also biological organisms characterized by the functions of nutrition, sensation, reproduc- tion, and movement. That is, although humans are distinct from other animals (because of our rea- soning ability), we do share many of their motives. As with other animals, much human behavior is motivated by appetites. Action is always directed at the satisfaction of an appetite. Thus, behavior is motivated by such internal states as hunger, sex- ual arousal, thirst, or the desire for bodily comfort. Because the existence of an appetite causes discom- fort, it stimulates activity that will eliminate it. If the activity is successful, the animal or person experi- ences pleasure. Much human behavior, then, like all animal behavior is hedonistic; its purpose is to bring pleasure or to avoid pain.