Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id OAA05866 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Wed, 10 Apr 2002 14:03:16 +0100 Message-ID: <570E2BEE7BC5A34684EE5914FCFC368C10FC0C@fillan.stir.ac.uk> From: Vincent Campbell <email@example.com> To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com> Subject: RE: Thoughts and Perceptions Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 13:18:43 +0100 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2653.19) Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1" X-Filter-Info: UoS MailScan 0.1 [D 1] X-MailScanner: Found to be clean Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
Assertion heavy, evidence free stuff from the coffee table meme book.
Categorisation, which I presume Richard means by 'distinction' here, is an
adaptive trait (hence the ability to distinguish between tigers and mice,
say). Some categorisations, or rather the ability to categorise, is not
part of the memetic 'programming' that Richard talks of. Indeed the
tendency to categorise is genetic, not memetic, and neither are the things
we categorise entirely in our heads. Dirt is something different to the
absence of dirt- the_term_dirt bears no necessary relation to the thing it
refers to, but it does refer to something. Territory too is a part of this
so things like nations and states are rooted in innate tendencies. The
memetic line here reminds me of Anderson's 'Imagined communities' (although
this supports the artefact-meme brigade too- what is a nation but an idea
bound around events, symbols, and practices- e.g. in my current location
these would include things like the declaration of Arbroath, the stone of
scoon, robert the bruce etc.).
That doesn't mean that humans are free from inherent biases, exactly the
opposite, but what it does mean is that at least some of our inherent biases
have utility. Being able to distinguish between nice and nasty foods, safe
and dangerous animals etc. etc. are useful. And we are able to utilise
these tendencies socially for both good and ill. And trying to
"de-programme" ourselves from some of the most dominant, and demonstrable,
categories seems to me to be burying one's head in the sand (akin to
Thatcher's famous claim 'there is no such thing as society').
Seeing all ideas/concepts etc. as memes, and thus distinction/categorisation
as memes is dreadfully problematic IMHO. To give an obvious example-
gender. Is gender a 'distinction-meme' or something actual and
physiological? Does arguing the latter legitimate patriarchal society or
merely acknowledge a biological reality that is an adaptive trait to be able
to make that distinction? Doesn't arguing the former take memetics into the
camp of the cultural relativists where anything goes?
-- The University of Stirling is a university established in Scotland by charter at Stirling, FK9 4LA. Privileged/Confidential Information may be contained in this message. If you are not the addressee indicated in this message (or responsible for delivery of the message to such person), you may not disclose, copy or deliver this message to anyone and any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and may be unlawful. In such case, you should destroy this message and kindly notify the sender by reply email. Please advise immediately if you or your employer do not consent to Internet email for messages of this kind. Opinions, conclusions and other information in this message that do not relate to the official business of the University of Stirling shall be understood as neither given nor endorsed by it.
=============================================================== 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
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Apr 10 2002 - 14:14:29 BST