Re: DS syndrome

From: Ray Recchia (
Date: Thu 22 May 2003 - 19:21:19 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T. Smith: "Re: transmission"

    -----Original Message----- From:
    > >
    > > I'm a mentalist memetics and I claim that animals do have memes.
    > > There is a difference though between passing memes by observing
    > > behavior and passing them through referential symbolism. Animals
    > form
    > > complex strategies and are capable of using abstractions like numbers
    > > and colors, but do not engage in the passage of complex referential
    > > symbols like humans do. I'm not going to jump into this messy
    > > argument again, but I think that a performance based meme runs into
    > > problems when dealing with complex referential symbols because those
    > > symbols can expressed in so many different forms. Those forms can
    > > only be connected by recognizing the common mental constructs behind
    > > them.
    > >
    > > Incidently, although I've said so many times before, primate studies
    > > absolutely rely on recognizing common internal thinking processes we
    > > share with the apes. This was Goodall's great breakthrough. She
    > > described her subjects as getting angry, feeling love, and having
    > many
    > > other emotions that humans possess. All of those things are internal
    > > states that we can recognize in others sharing a common background
    > > with ourselves. Hunger is a real thing inside our heads that can be
    > > correlated to a feedback response from the neurons in our stomachs.
    > > We didn't need to know about the neurons to know about hunger though.
    > > We recognized it in ourselves and in others. And we still don't know
    > > how our conscious mind truly comes to recognize hunger in itself.
    > Our
    > > mutual consciousness of our own ideas and thoughts is an internal
    > > awareness that we can be as sure of as hunger. Our ability to
    > > recognize a similarity between internal states is the absolute basis
    > > which language requires to function.
    > >
    > > Like I said we've really gone over this too many times. It just gets
    > > too damned old. I can understand how a molecular biologist like
    > Derek
    > > Gatherer could be unhappy with the uncertainty associated with
    > > recognizing similar mental states but IMHO the whole argument is a
    > > waste of time.
    > >
    > > Ray Recchia
    > >
    > So, you're claiming that Wade's performance model might be sufficient
    > to explain instinctual communication by lesser animals, but not by
    > great
    > apes and humans, due to the problem of multiple modes of arbitrary-
    > and-by-common-agreement symbolicity? interesting.
    > >

    That's pretty much it. A performance based model might also be sufficient to study ape memes because they do not use referential (or arbitrary and by common-agreement) symbols, but clearly primatologists have been using a common mental model as a basis for significant insights into ape social interaction and it would likely be available for similar insights in ape memetics.

    Ray Recchia

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