Re: Plotkin's new book

Date: Wed Mar 27 2002 - 19:54:40 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Plotkin's new book
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    In a message dated 3/27/2002 1:11:55 PM Central Standard
    Time, Scott Chase <> writes:

    > >From: Vincent Campbell <>
    > >Reply-To:
    > >To: "''" <>
    > >Subject: Plotkin's new book
    > >Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 13:28:48 -0000
    > >
    > >Hi Everyone,
    > >
    > >As usual, whilst looking for something entirely unrelated, I ended up in
    > >uni bookshop yesterday buying a copy of Plotkin's new book 'The Imagined
    > >World Made Real', which is about natural sciences and culture (there's a
    > >section on memes not surprisingly).
    > >
    > Oh great, another book to look for and buy so it can sit on the shelf
    > collecting dust while awaiting its turn...
    > >
    > >It looks pretty good, although it is making the case for encorporating the
    > >social sciences into the natural sciences (particularly biology). I don't
    > >have ideological problems with this, like many other social scientists do,
    > >but do worry that if such a goal is ever achieved what the hell am I going
    > >to do for a living? Being humanities/social science trained I don't think
    > >reading a few books by Dawkins and Gould count as an education in
    > >evolutionary biology.
    > >
    > You could become a radical neo-Durkheimian and rally for the *sui generis*
    > view of social facts, opposed to the imperialistic sociobiological camp.
    > Arrogance and determinism cut both ways.
    > There's nothing wrong with a all-inclusive multidisciplinary approach, but
    > find it hard to believe that a field like media studies is readily
    > collapsible into biology. I don't think training in genetics, ecology, or
    > physiology gives someone background for the nuances of studying various
    > human cultural phenomenon, which have been studied within other
    > like yours.
    > Collapsing media studies into biology may be nothing more than a universal
    > Darwinist pipe dream. Don't worry, your field may be safe from invasion.
    > OTOH, communication between people whose strengths are in various fields
    > related to biology, psychology, sociology, and anthropology may allow for
    > better "big tent" approach. You could learn from biologists and vice versa.

    Hi Scott and Vincent.

    Really, you should both relax. There is nothing to worry about!
    The social sciences will fit quite nicely into theoretical physics!
    I have been working up a treatise on quantum socio-dynamics
    lately. It has already passed its first test of correctly predicting
    the experimentally observed time it takes for truth and beauty to
    decay into smugness and vanity, respectively! :-))

    OK, it was JOKE...

    --Aaron Lynch

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