From: Scott Chase (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri 18 Oct 2002 - 03:03:09 GMT
>From: Bill Spight <email@example.com>
>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." (http://www.bartleby.com/63/93/1793.html).
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?"
So this is you pointing obstensively towards this phrase as a meme, knowing
one when you see one?
>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(2): pink unicorns
My stance: dunno
BUT, am I the only one pondering H2 as a possibility?
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