Re: Standard definition

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri 25 Oct 2002 - 19:25:05 GMT

  • Next message: Bill Spight: "Re: Standard definition"

    >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).

    That sounds a bit like talking about computer programs without mentioning their relationship to the computer. If we're not going to talk about what memes do and how they do it, what's left to talk about? Culture is composed of memes, but I supose it's enough to say that people create them and contribute them to the culture. What else do we need to know? In fact, why bother to talk about them at all?



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