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From: Steve Drew (srdrew_1@hotmail.com)
Date: Sun Apr 07 2002 - 22:45:16 BST

  • Next message: Steve Drew: "Re: memetics-digest V1 #1008"

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    Hi Randy

    > Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2002 15:45:35 -0500
    > From: rmey4892 <rmey4892@postoffice.uri.edu>
    > Subject: [none]
    > Funny,
    > 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
    > bio-diversity).
    > 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.

    It may well have been. It is important to remember the other aspects of
    language. I.e. The non vocal which expands even EAT into many forms, such as
    EAT? (an invite possibly) EAT? (an enquiry) EAT? (an expression of concern
    when someone is ill and not eating). Each expression of EAT? Would be
    accompanied by the appropriate kinesthetic, facial expression and proxemics
    appropriate to the situation and are just as important as the vocalisations.
    In some respects, the non-vocalisations are part of the grammar. After all
    we may have spent much of our evolutionary history as a non vocal species.
    > 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.
    Pavlov to my mind. Also, it may be that your dog understand the context not
    the command. If you know Pavlov, my apologies for the next bit, but Pavlov
    showed that by using a reward withold sytem he could control the responses
    of dogs. Every time they were about to be fed a bell rang and then they were
    fed. Eventually, the dogs would salivate even though they got no food

    IIRC, Skinner took this further and thought that all creatures, us included
    are just a set of conditioned responses to the enviroment we find ourselves
    in. Apparently many of the reductionist soicobiologists still find his views

    > It just appeared a way to get to memes, half-way between language and
    > Genes.
    > just a thought to chew on, guys. your criticism is welcome.
    > Randy



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