Re: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)

Date: Tue 05 Aug 2003 - 15:21:53 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)"

    In a message dated 8/5/2003 4:52:47 AM Central Daylight Time, Derek Gatherer writes:

    > --- wrote: > In a message dated
    > > do please
    > > quote that
    > > definition verbatim in its entirety, again with
    > > source and
    > > page numbers.
    > You're looking for something along the lines of:
    > REPLICATOR: noun, c.1976. An entity which ...... and
    > is further defined by.....
    > in the space of a paragraph or so. I doubt if you'll
    > find anything like that, as it isn't the style of the
    > biology literature to provide that kind of thing - too
    > many exceptions, too messy a subject. There is a
    > secondary literature, eg. the Penguin Dictionary of
    > Biology, where you can look up definitions, but these
    > are designed for first-year students to get to grips
    > with the terminology, rather than being any 'official'
    > definitions.


    Biology is indeed a messier subject than physics or maths, so I agree that I should not expect all the exactitude I would find in those fields.

    Dawkins seems to have already considered the first-year students and other members of his wider audience, and provided a glossary at the end of his book _The Extended Phenotype_. The full entry for the word "replicator" reads:

    "REPLICATOR: Any entity in the universe of which copies are made. Chapter 5 contains an extended discussion of replicators, and a classification of active/passive, and germ-line/dead-end replicators." (p. 293)

    His definition is very broad, extending beyond biology and into other fields such as the social sciences and indeed, even into physics.

    --Aaron Lynch

    Thought Contagion Science Page:

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