Re: A meme is...

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu 17 Oct 2002 - 03:31:52 GMT

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    > > >...a mental predisposition to engage in instances of certain
    > > >behaviors more frequently than one might engage in them in its
    > > >absence.
    > > >
    > > Hmmm. That would make behaviors such a learning our first language a
    > > meme. It would include all the hardwired behaviors we inherit as
    > > members of the human race. All humans have a predisposition to learn
    > > language. Somehow that doesn't distinguish memes from inherited
    > > behaviors. Are there any other characteristics that would distinguish
    > > them further?
    > >
    >That their particular form is not genetically required (that is, they are
    >innate). The capacity to learn a language is part and parcel of the
    >human condition, but the languages we do indeed learn are arbitrary
    >human constructions. They could just as easily for us be other
    > >
    > > Grant
    > >
    Yes, we have a predisposition to learn whatever language we grow up hearing, just as a gosling has a predisposition to follow whoever walks by on two legs right after it hatches from the egg. But I wouldn't call the gosling's behavior a meme any more than I would call learning language a meme. But I would call the elements of the language I do learn memes. That gives me a way to distinguish the language memes from language per se.


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