RE: Precision of replication

From: Richard Brodie (
Date: Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 05:20:34 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: Precision of replication"

    Scott wrote:

    <<Well its those associations that exist in the brains of individuals surrounding the *word* brain that are the crux of "in the mind" that Wade harps upon. Somebody might see a clump of tissue with convolutions where somebody else realizes these convolutions are associated with words like sulcus and gyrus and that there's something "in there" called a hippocampus.

    If you give up the fight for the identity of that web of associations between individuals haven't you conceded more than you wish to Wade's behavioristic emphasis on venue?>>

    Give up the fight? It would never occur to me that any two minds have exactly the same web of associations surrounding the word "brain." Those unique webs of associations are what makes people different from one another. You don't replicate a whole mind, for goodness' sake, or even a significant fraction of it.

    <<Saying that the word "brain" is identical between individuals and is replicated because it is spelled the same is rather banal is it not?>>

    It's easy as pie. That's why I used it as an example. Who could deny that the spelling of the word "brain" is culturally transmitted information?

    << That's a cheap sort of identical replication that doesn't pass muster.>>

    I don't know what you're getting at. The example was used to counter Wade's claim that I couldn't show him a meme. I gave him a simple one.

    << What's so fundamentaly intriguing about the identical spelling of words that linguistics can't handle?>>

    Evolution by selection of the fittest replicators.

    << Brain may be defined in a dictionary and each of us can read that definition and come way with our own understadings of the word given our respective backgrounds. Can anything more than the gist of that definition be said to be anything close to similar (versus identical) across individuals a month or so down the road when asked to repeat it verbatim?>>

    No, which is why people don't go down the street reciting the definition of
    "brain." Instead they hum popular songs or talk about news headlines: memes that have the ingredients to replicate in the current environment. Elements of culture that have what it takes to replicate are the ones that proliferate. Thoughts that can be expressed in simple, catchy phrases are the ones on people's lips.

    << Then come the matrix of assoctions that surround this concept of the "brain". Yes, the spelling is identical. I'll give you that. Th definitoion in all that copies of a particular artificat (the book known as a dictionary) are identical too. Speling and book level definition are
    "selfsame". Now let's get into the ways this concept *may* be represented inside the ead. Is the identical spelling represented *exactly* the same between my brain and yours at the neural level?>>

    I doubt it, but it has no more to do with memetics than the composition of the paper in our respective dictionaries.

    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:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 05:28:09 GMT