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

Date: Wed 06 Aug 2003 - 06:43:35 GMT

  • Next message: derek gatherer: "Re: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)"

    In a message dated 8/5/2003 7:46:12 PM Central Daylight Time, Lawrence DeBivort <> writes:

    > Agreed, agreed...
    > I do wish Dawkins had been a bit more thoughtful about language. Maybe he
    > didn't anticipate that "memes" would excite as much interest as it did, so
    > hurried on to the main themes he was exploring.
    > Cheers,
    > Lawry

    It is useful to note as well that the word he chose to refer to "Any entity in the universe of which copies are made." Did not have to be the specific word "replicator." He might as well have used a term such as "propagator,"
    "pullulator," etc. There would still have been some confusions from pressing a previously non-technical word into technical usage, as such words usually carry baggage in from their mainstream non-technical histories.

    For my part, I don't really have to attach the specific word "replicator" to the concept of "an item whose instantiation depended critically on causation by prior instantiation of the same item." The type of multi-event causal analysis I do can be done using a variety of different terminology schemes. Fundamental principles are those of causation and sameness (and non-sameness, or differentness). (The notion of "sameness" can be expressed in various ways as well. It can be called "sameness of types," in accordance with the wording suggested by Joe Dees, for instance. I have been using phrases such as "same with respect to an abstraction," and "replication with respect to an abstraction." But I could have talked about inclusion in sets defined as the sets of all elements or items having a given attribute instead.) This form of mass causal analysis of ideas, memory items, beliefs, and other aspects of culture does not even need to be called "natural selection," either. Nevertheless, there can advantages to employing technical terms already widely familiar, especially if definitions are given for key terms used in new ways or contexts.

    --Aaron Lynch

    Thought Contagion Science Page:

    > > -----Original Message-----
    > > From: []On Behalf
    > > Of
    > > Sent: Tue, August 05, 2003 5:54 PM
    > > To:
    > > Subject: Re: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)
    > >
    > >
    > > In a message dated 8/5/2003 10:48:09 AM Central Daylight
    > > Time, Lawrence DeBivort <> writes:
    > >
    > > > I wonder whether there is confusing arising from Dawkins' terminology?
    > > >
    > > > A "replicator" should be the thing that is doing the
    > > replication, and not
    > > > that thing that is being replicated.
    > > >
    > > > The thing that is being replicated should be called a
    > > "REPLICATEE", and the
    > > > thing doing the replication should be called the "REPLICATOR" -- this
    > > > reflects standard subject/object usage, unless I am mistaken.
    > > >
    > > > Does this help?
    > > >
    > > > Cheers,
    > > > Lawry
    > >
    > > Thanks, Lawry.
    > >
    > > In one way, this would be more logical terminology. But the
    > > word "replicatee" could easily be misconstrued in another
    > > way, as referring to a person who is replicated. In any
    > > case, the term "replicator" has already been introduced
    > > into the literature. And scientific terms often have
    > > technical meanings different from those of mainstream
    > > usage. For purposes of science, it matters that the term be
    > > clearly defined.
    > >
    > > --Aaron Lynch
    > >
    > > Thought Contagion Science Page:
    > >

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