New JoM-EMIT paper: The Redefinition of Memes: ... by Michael Lissack

From: Bruce Edmonds (
Date: Mon 19 Jan 2004 - 13:47:53 GMT

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    The Redefinition of Memes: Ascribing Meaning to an Empty Cliché
                         by Michael R. Lissack

    Abstract 1 Introduction 2 Memes as Indexicals 2.1 Efficiency 2.2 Frames 2.3 Boundaries 3 Mechanisms 3.1 Gloms versus Indexicals 3.2 Multiplicity of Meanings 3.3 Conceptual Slippage 3.4 Least-Action Principle 4 Implications Notes References


    By redefining memes as efficient tools for evoking particular affordances to be attended to in situ, this article argues that the challenges Edmonds (2002) issued to memetics can be met. Such a definition is consistent with theories of niche construction. The indexical Dawkins created (meme=gene) has exceeded its carrying capacity and thus lost its efficacy. Worse, that indexical is evoking images and affordances which stand in the way of the memetics field making true progress. It is time to recognize that ontic status has been misplaced.
      Memes needs a new meme: meme as catalytic indexical.

    Available at:

    This article has been republished by permission from Emergence
    ( A Journal of Complexity Issues in Organization and Management Vol. 5 No. 3 pgs 48-65.

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