Re: To be or not to be: memetics a science?

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Tue Apr 02 2002 - 16:29:53 BST

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    Subject: Re: To be or not to be: memetics a science?
    Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002 07:29:53 -0800
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    >Boy are we quiet out there or what? Here's an issue for you guys to ponder
    >and hopefully to revive the list a little.
    >Is memetics a science? That is: a systematic study about the structure and
    >behavior of the physical
    >world consisting of theory as well as experiment. If not (yet), does it has
    >what it takes to
    >ever become one? Or are the variables involved too complex to be isolated
    >for experimental
    >study and will it thus remain a theory without the possibility of testing
    >the things it predicts and implies?
    >Your opinions of whatever kind are gladly appreciated. So: What Say You?

    I don't think anyone has yet figured out what the memetic point of view has
    to offer that the other social sciences do not. Does it really change our
    view of history or sociology or anthropology? Does it help us predict human
    behavior any better than psychology or neurology? What does it give us that
    promises to make it more useful?

    So far, I just find it an interesting viewpoint. I think it gives me a
    non-Chomskian way of looking at language, for example. But I don't think
    what it gives me is any more important or even as important as what
    Chomsky's view has contributed to the study of language. It helps me look
    at language complexity rather than being limited to Chomsky's reductionist
    view. But Chomsky's work is making it possible for computers to understand
    and process written and spoken language. So far, my view just makes me feel


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