From: Philip Jonkers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun 27 Oct 2002 - 18:03:28 GMT
> Such analysis may lead to units at different levels: organs, cells,
> chromosomes, genes, molecules, atoms, protons, electrons, for instance.
> Units at one level may be constituents of units at a higher level.
> Analytical units, then, need not be indivisible.
> There is a special problem with memes as analytical units, however,
> which Vincent alluded to: the level problem. Morphemes (such as "morph",
> "eme", "ad", "lude", "philo", "soph", and "er") and phonemes (such as
> "m", long "e", "d", and short "a") are both, arguably, memes. They are
> units and they are culturally inherited. But at the same time, phonemes
> may be considered as constituents of morphemes. For instance, long "e"
> and "m" make up "eme". If they are both memes then we have memes
> constituting other memes. What kind of units are those?
And hence we discover the inherent *recursive* trait of the concept of
the meme. A computer is a unit, it's also a unit of culture. But so is
the pentium IV that's in it. It's a cultural unit within a cultural unit.
A meme within a meme. There's no way around it. And hence a
cultural unit is not only indivisible, it's even recursively divisible!
Wham bam thank you ma'am... :-)
> In practice, this is not a problem as long as you are clear about which
> level you are talking about. For a long time I considered memes as units
> for different levels, and it was fine to have memes for one level
> composed of memes for a lower level. But there is an alternative that I
> find attractive.
> A linguistic unit, the lexeme, has the same problem of levels. Lexemes
> include words but can be larger or smaller:
> > A lexeme is the minimal unit of language which
> > has a semantic interpretation and
> > embodies a distinct cultural concept.
> In particular, catch-phrases, such as "Give me a break!" are lexemes
> that are composed of lexemes. Sydney Lamb ("Pathways of the Brain"),
> speaks to this problem of level for lexemes: "The process of
> lexicalization is typically a gradual one: The first time a new
> combination is formed by a speaker, it must be constructed as a
> combination of units previously learned. . . . But for subsequent uses
> it need not be constructed again if it is remembered as a unit. (p. 165)
> "Now, a lexeme can begin to have a life of its own from a semantic point
> of view as soon as it is treated as a unit. (p. 167)"
> Earlier he says, "Lexemes are the units *which are learned . . . as
> units.* (p. 31)"
> As the title of his book indicates, Lamb takes a neuro-cognitive
> perspective. For him a lexeme is a functional unit, which is remembered
> and learned *as a unit*.
> Similarly, we may consider memes to be those constituents of culture
> that are inherited *as units*. This functional definition does not
> commit us to a neuro-cognitive perspective, but it does avoid the level
> problem of analytical units. :-)
> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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