Re: another new memetics paper

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri 21 Feb 2003 - 19:09:12 GMT

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    There are some gems in the references to this paper. Keith Henson


    2. The theory proposed here was inspired by an idea originally put forward to explain the origin of life. The origin of life and the origin of culture might appear at first glance to be very different problems. However, at a gross level of analysis they amount to the same thing: the bootstrapping of a system by which information patterns self-replicate, and the selective proliferation of some variants of these self-replicating patterns over others. The theory is thus consistent with the perspective of culture as a form of evolution (Dawkins 1975; Gabora 1997). In keeping with this evolutionary framework, the term "meme" is used to refer to a unit of cultural information as it is represented in the brain. Thus meme refers to anything from an idea for a recipe to a memory of one's uncle to a concept of size to an attitude of racial prejudice. The rationale for lumping together episodic memories and symbolic abstractions is that they are both food for thought, units of information that can be drawn upon to invent new memes or to clarify existing ones. Memes that have been implemented as actions, vocalizations, or objects are referred to as artifacts.

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