Re: Different words for the same thing?

From: William Benzon (
Date: Wed 19 Mar 2003 - 01:04:41 GMT

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    on 3/18/03 6:07 PM, Grant Callaghan at wrote:

    > And each and every performance is just the same- a unique solution to the
    > problem of what step to take, or word to use, or turn to take, or smile, or
    > frown, or dance, or....
    > Wade
    > The following from:
    > An Exploration In
    > Mesoscopic Brain Dynamics
    > Professor Walter J Freeman
    > University of California, Berkeley, USA
    > representations - intentional gestures, words, numbers, and constructed
    > objects that elicit meaning in the process of communication, but which
    > themselves have no meaning
    > thought - a process by which Neuroactivity constructs meaning, modifies
    > intentional structure, and makes representations for purposes of
    > communication among humans and animals
    > -----------------
    > It would seem that what Wade calls memes Freeman calls "representations."
    > What I call memes are what Freeman calls thought. I would suspect that
    > Freeman has little or nothing to say on the subject of memes. But at least
    > what we are giving names to is common to the lexicons of all of us.
    > Grant

    Except that Freeman would find nonsensical the notion that thoughts (that is
    "memes" in your terms) can somehow propagate from one person to another. Freeman is quite clear in asserting that meaning is constructed in brains and that each brain does so in a way that is unique to it. For each brain has a unique history and its meanings reflect the whole of that history. Meanings do not propagate from one brain to another in the way you want memes to.

    I don't know what Freeman things about memes. I've corresponded with him quite a bit on his theories about brain activity and music. I know he likes my views on music -- I have explicitly argued that the memes of music are in the external world -- but I've never explicitly asked his opinions on my account of memes.

    Bill B

    Music gives us ontological messages which non-musical criticism is unable to
    contradict, though it may laugh at our foolishness in minding them.
    ‹William James
    William Benzon
    708 Jersey Avenue, Apt. 2A
    Jersey City, NJ 07302
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