From: William Benzon (email@example.com)
Date: Mon 19 May 2003 - 15:17:24 GMT
on 5/19/03 9:32 AM, Richard Brodie at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> Bill Benzon wrote:
> <<So, just how do you define "meme"?>>
> In the very post you were replying to, I wrote that I used the
> Dawkins/Dennett definition: mental replicator.
> << 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.>>
> That was the early, vague definition Dawkins gave. He later clarified it to
> be a mental replicator and Dennett concurred.
It seems to me that this is a quibble. The notion of a replicator is
certainly a more general one than that of a gene or a meme, but it really
isn't any more precise. Nor does it change my basic point.
OK, so a meme is a mental replicator: Find one. No one has actually found
mental entities within brains that replicate from one brain to another.
Richard Aunger has written an incoherent attempt to find such things in the
brain. I don't see any reason to believe that they will ever be found.
These mentalist memes are purely hypothetical entities. Now, if these
hypothetical entities had given rise to a good research program with
substantial empirical results, that would be a different matter. But that
research program has not come into being. Memetics doesn't have a Gregor
> <<So, we now examine cultural processes to see what, if any, entities fit
> 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
> You are disagreeing with the definition as currently held by Dennett and
> others who have written books on memetics, but I'm sure you have your
It seems to me that this a straight-up argument from authority. I don't
deny that Dennett and Dawkins and have more authority in the intellectual
world than I do. But on this matter, the emperor has no clothes.
> Richard Brodie
> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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