Re: Definition of meme

From: William Benzon (
Date: Mon 19 May 2003 - 02:08:44 GMT

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    on 5/18/03 9:17 PM, Richard Brodie at wrote:


    > I don't understand why anyone would say memories can't be memes. The
    > statement doesn't even make sense to me. A definition can't be wrong. At
    > worst, you could say the study of mental replicators is useless. I don't
    > happen to think it is, but then again I'm not a researcher. But this
    > constant diatribe against "memesinthemid" makes no sense to me. Not that I
    > think it's wrong, just that I don't even understand the argument.

    So, just how do you define "meme"? Let us say that we define a meme to be an entity that plays a role in cultural processes that is analogous to the role that a gene plays in biological processes. That, I believe, is what Dawkins had in mind and what Dennett has defended.

    So, we now examine cultural processes to see what, if any, entities fit the definition. You claim to have found such entities in people's minds. Wade claims that is impossible and so do I. We're not disagreeing with the definition -- assuming you more or less agree with it. We're disagreeing about where to look in the world to find entities that satisfy the definition.

    William L. Benzon
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