From: Ray Recchia (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 22 May 2003 - 19:21:19 GMT
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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.
> > 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
> > 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
> 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.
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