Standard definition

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Fri 25 Oct 2002 - 17:49:32 GMT

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    Dawkins begins his definition of "meme" in "The Extended Phenotype" with, "A unit of cultural inheritance". In recent discussions I have assumed that that was a necessary part of any definition of "meme".
    (That seems not to be the case for everyone, however. ;-))

    I propose that "A unit of cultural inheritance" is also sufficient to define a meme, and thus, is an acceptable standard definition.

    We may argue about exactly what and what kind of thing such a unit is, but I think that it is a good idea to separate the ontology debate from the question of definition. We may agree upon a definition of "unicorn" without agreeing about the ontology of unicorns.

    BTW, Dawkins defines "gene" simply as "a unit of heredity". Short, sweet, and sufficient. :-) No need to go into DNA, information, mutation rate, or anything else. KISS (Keep it simple, sister).


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