From: Gudmundur Ingi Markusson (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 20 Mar 2003 - 16:18:19 GMT
Dear Grant and William.
>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
>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.
When I read your correspondence, I immediately thought of Terrence Deacon’s short article in _Semiotic Review of Books_ (Vol. 10(3)) “The trouble with memes (and what to do about it)” where he suggests that a Peircian (C.S. Peirce) semiotic framework for memetics could be developed for the benefit of both memetics and semiotics. It is one of the most interesting things I have ever read on memes and can be accessed at:
He suggests that memes should be defined as Peircian sign-vehicles (in C.S.P.’s terms, representamen), which can be any phenomenon or process in the world, which a cognizing subject interprets as referring to something else. Sign-vehicle-memes are replicated by way of the interpretative response of the cognizing subject. He separates the meme and the meaning (interpretation) arising in peoples brains. Also, he departs from the whole replicator conception, which he criticizes as one of the conceptual errors of “conventional” memetics. These are just some of the points I remember (I emphasize that I am jotting this down from memory). It is a highly recommended piece of writing.
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