RE: Standard definition

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue 29 Oct 2002 - 13:28:10 GMT

  • Next message: Vincent Campbell: "RE: Standard definition"

    (Responding to Aaron's comments, deleted here just to make the message small).

    Hi Aaron, interesting comments.

    I think Dawkins' relationship to the term he coined is interesting, in that he has tended to be rather diffident towards the concept. Perhaps it's because it was only a whim and he doesn't seen it as a genuine scientific idea, perhaps he'd rather the rest of 'The Selfish Gene' was what inspired/excited readers as that was arguably his main purpose, and indeed that has occurred to some extent.

    I think I agree with you that the "are ideas memes or vice versa?" discussion is a bit unnecessary when 'idea' seems to work just fine as a category. I suppose one might say the same about artifact or behaviour.

    Other writers have covered the same kinds of ground without using memes, from Cavalli-sforza's cultural traits, to the pop science of gladwell's
    'tipping point'.

    Still, I agree with Bill, that there is some very broad consensus around what the topic of memetics is, even if memes are that relevant. The issue of cultural transmission/inheritance is a clear one, and an evolutionary model is one clear approach, regardless of terminology.


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