RE: Is there any meme left to talk about !?

From: Richard Brodie (
Date: Fri 21 Nov 2003 - 22:21:17 GMT

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    Derek Gatherer wrote:

    > Geertz was a pioneer (the paper you cite
    > is from 1964) of the ideational theory of culture
    > - ie. the notion that culture exists inside people's heads,
    > and that artefacts and behaviours etc are epiphenomenal in
    > some way. The descendent of this school in memetics are the
    > 'internalists' who maintain that memes are all in the head
    > too. There are numerous philosophical problems with this of
    > varying degrees of severity, but most importantly it puts
    > memetics in a methodological impasse, as internalism requires
    > memetics to be a quantitative science of entities that cannot
    > be quantified.

    I'm not sure who these "internalists" are, but I and most other writers on memetics have defined meme along with Dawkins's refined definition and Dennett's well thought-out definition as a mental replicator. That doesn't mean artifacts are not also replicators, it's simply a definition of "meme." There are many factors that influence cultural evolution. Memetics is but one perspective. I don't think anyone has anything against measuring either internal or external information patterns so I think that particular issue is a straw man.

    Richard Brodie

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