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From: rmey4892 (rmey4892@postoffice.uri.edu)
Date: Sat Apr 06 2002 - 21:45:35 BST

  • Next message: Kenneth Van Oost: "One risen from the dead !!"

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    I just picked up Chomsky's syntactic structures at the library, and I have
    come to think that his view is not all that dissimilar from my view in
    memetics? I suppose I have some silly hope that memetics lies half way between
    Chomsky and Darwin, providing a bridge that brings quantitativeness into the
    social sciences. Perhaps this is naive, but I have begun to form some
    opinions, entirlely unfounded of course, on the subject.

    I have begun to wonder if grammar developed because there is simply no other
    way to convey meaningful information. Think of the most simple sentence you
    can. It might be "the dog ate the cat" and throw away the articles since they
    are mere convention. you are left with "dog eat cat"...Subject, verb, Direct
    object. Now, you have two nouns, both observable using sensory apparatus which
    can, obviously and intuitively, store images in the brain. This is a fact
    simply because I can recall an image of a cat or dog just by simply wishing
    that it were so (right now I am thinking of a big steak sandwich.....soooo
    hungry.... but this is besides the point). So nouns, or objects perceived in
    the real world with a given genetic basis in the organs that have been derived
    through neo-darwinian processes, can thus be recognized and stored and
    categorized into what arises as the label "dog" or "cat". I can think of
    several dog's or cats, all dissimilar from one another but recognizably the
    same concept (a concept agreed upon by any astute observer that is aquainted
    with biological diversity, or exposed to the meme by others who know about

    you see, the dog or cat cannot be "understood" without an innate concept, that
    what we see is a real item in nature. Then there is an innate concept of
    "real", an "existence meme" as I prefer to call it. Language, utilizes such
    innate concepts to make a sentence in its simplest form S.---V.---D.O. So what
    about the verb. Here I will argue that that too is an innate concept since it
    arises from short term memory and pattern recognition. A pattern is perceived,
    stored and labelled. We can see that most animals can perceive of actions such
    as "eat", though some animals with shorter memories cannot place the pattern
    as a universal one that has been encountered in the past and is deserving of a
    label.this labelled stored memory of an action pattern, I would all a
    "transient-state meme"

    So in fact the simplest sentence could be "EAT!" as a command with "you"
    understood and "the food" as the understood D.O. Sentences would not have
    arisen in the first place if they did not serve a function. This function is
    to take information from perceptive apparatus, store it, label it, and convey
    it to others who are capable of conceiving of pattern and existence.

    My dog sees me put my shoes on and he goes and sits at the door. He is no
    doubt anticipating sticking his head out my window going 30 mph down the mall
    strip to the pet store (well maybe not the pet store, but he knows he wants to
    go and its not a simple good-bad response, since that same car can take him to
    the vet). another thing that brings him running from the other room is the
    jingle of my car keys. When I tell him to "Sit", he understands the sentence
    "I desire that you should sit, and perhaps you'll get a cookie", or some close
    approximation (At the very least "I want you to sit").

    This all, perhaps, smacks of skinner's behaviorism, but since I am unfamiliar
    with the intricacies of that school of thought i cannot be sure it is the same
    thing. It just appeared a way to get to memes, half-way between language and

    just a thought to chew on, guys. your criticism is welcome.


    Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002 07:29:53 -0800
    From: "Grant Callaghan" <grantc4@hotmail.com>
    Subject: Re: To be or not to be: memetics a science?

    >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 better.


    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit

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