Re: (Reply to Benzon) I

From: Gudmundur Ingi Markusson (
Date: Sun 25 May 2003 - 13:01:49 GMT

  • Next message: Reed Konsler: "Stepping outside the system"

    Keith Henson wrote:

    >> >>(GIM) I agree. The assumption that information simply resides in
    books or otherwise, waiting to be incorporated by hosts, which seems to be taken for granted in much memetic discussion, is misguided. Here I think Peirce is useful. In the light of his semiosis concept, information is not a dyadic relation, a carrier carrying something (signifier incorporating a signified), but a triadic relation, where information arises only when a subject interprets a signifier (sign-vehicle).
    >> >All of which is to say that mentalist memetics gets tripped up on a point that linguists and semioticians have understood for a century
    or so.

    >>Actually, I see it more as a hurdle to "jet set" memetics, such as Blackmore's, where memes seem to jump in tact from books to brains to the internet, and what have you.

    >I think you might consider published genes as "lying there in books."
    A current major concern of certain people is that the smallpox genome is public as is the method of splicing in an immune suppressing gene IL-4.

    You might do that, as a short hand. But if it weren't for an existing interpretative context (scientists' minds and other paraphernalia) published genes would not mean anything to anyone. Similarly, for DNA to convey any information there has to be the interpretative environment of the cell. So, a more accurate view of information is to see it as emerging when some system (scientist, cell, etc.) interprets a series of signifiers/signs (DNA, letters, etc.).



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