Abracadabra: Language, Memory, Representation


MWF 10-10:50
Sewall Hall 303

Instructor: Christopher Kelty
Office: Sewall Hall 580
Office Hours:

What exactly do language and memory have to do with knowledge? Are they passive tools or essential components? Are all languages equal, or are there better and worse ways of saying something? What's the difference between natural language and mathematics? Between logic and language? Between memory and storage? Between information processing and thinking? Do words do things? Do algorithms have meaning? What's the relationship between technology and thinking, or between remembering and archiving? Between meaning and information? And what does Dracula have to do with all this?

Abracadabra: OED | Webster's

Revised Syllabus March 5th: ( pdf | html )

Syllabus ( pdf | html )


  1. Introduction
  2. Literacy, Numeracy, Print
  3. Ars Memoria: Techniques of Memory and Creativity
  4. Perfect Languages: from tables to algorithms
  5. Dracula


Assignments appear here as they are issued

  1. Assignment 1: Introduce yourself (Instructions)
  2. Assignment 2: Ongoing Assignment (Instructions)
  3. Assignment 3: A Memory System (Instructions)
  4. Assigmment 4: Essay/Review (Instructions)
  5. Assignment 5: Journal (Instructions)



Readings are available at from the Electronic Reserves Desk at http://www.rice.edu/fondren/circ/reserves.html


Archive of lectures can be downloaded here.

Christopher Kelty
Last modified: Fri Apr 25 09:54:36 CDT 2003