Re: Stewart tes

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri 18 Oct 2002 - 03:03:09 GMT

  • Next message: Philip Jonkers: "Re: A meme is..."

    >From: Bill Spight <>
    >Subject: Stewart tes
    >Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 18:25:28 -0700
    >Again we are discussing what kind of thing a meme is or might be. As
    >Aungere points out, the lack of consensus on this point fuels criticism.
    And what's wrong with criticism (or skepticism even)? I wish there were a great deal more of it towards the existence of memes themselves.
    >If nobody knows what a meme is, is there such a thing, anyway?
    That would be one path that leads to the alternative hypothesis of the pink unicorn.
    >Despite this lack of consensus, I think that many memes pass the Stewart
    >test. U. S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said, "I shall not
    >today attempt further to define [pornographic] material … but I know it
    >when I see it." (
    The obstensive definition?
    >One example, I think, is the phrase, "Beam me up, Scotty!"
    Not that one again :-(

    Now I know how Kenneth felt with that "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" stuff.

    So this is you pointing obstensively towards this phrase as a meme, knowing one when you see one?
    >Is there
    >anyone who thinks that memes exist that does not think that that is a
    IF (note the conditional) memes exist this could be a candidate (though I have personal reasons for not liking this particular phrase).
    >OC, people differ about what exactly that meme is. Some think it
    >is the utterance, the act of saying or writing the phrase, some would
    >include a bumper sticker with that phrase written on it as a meme, some
    >think it is a neural structure or a set of neural structures, some that
    >it is an idea, some that it is all of the above, and so on. But does any
    >one of them doubt that it is a meme?
    If it is replicated and transmitted and thus culturally relevant I suppose they all would mostly be happy, though would differ as Joe and Wade have over whther we should look at it as a meme-ory or a beme.
    >Another example, I think, is the TIT-FOR-TAT strategy of playing the
    >Prisoner's Dilemma game. (Axelrod: "The Evolution of Cooperation")
    >Again, exactly what that means differs among memeticists, but is there
    >not general agreement that such strategies are memes? (In fact, in a
    >recent web search of "replicator" I found that economists are
    >researching such strategies extensively. They call them replicators,
    >rather than memes, it seems, but let's call a spade a spade. ;-))
    Are the economists being pragmatic and just using a concept that seems to work out OK or are they being theoretical and getting down to the nitty gritty details of where the rubber meets the road (eg-artifacts versus socifacts versus mentifacts *sensu* Huxley)?
    >These are examples of two major classes of memes, I think: lexemes,
    >which include words, phrases, etc., and situation-response pairs, which
    >include game strategies, normative rules, techniques, etc. In fact, it
    >seems to me that these encompass most memes in any culture.
    >Am I wrong about whether such things are memes, regardless of how you
    >define a meme? What do you say?
    Again IF memes exist and actually influene human behavior your questions are important.

    Since we've gotta ponder existence I've gotta modify my hypothetical matrix a little. H1 is that memes exist, so:

    H(1a): bemes H(1b): meme-ories H(2): pink unicorns

    My stance: dunno

    BUT, am I the only one pondering H2 as a possibility?

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