RE: (Sociology's problems)

From: Steven Thiele (
Date: Wed 11 Feb 2004 - 22:21:15 GMT

  • Next message: M Lissack: "RE: (Sociology's problems)"

    >I see no deficiencies inside the frame of memetics. It is just too simple
    >to be wrong. The "memetics frame" though is only a small part of the
    >landscape. If you want to be able to put even a tentative answer to *why*
    >the xenophobic class of memes emerges in ecological situations leading up
    >to war, you have to look at the larger sociobiology/evolutionary
    >psychology picture.
    >Incidentally, I don't claim particular brilliance in figuring this
    >out. Motivation was more of a factor. If you want a share of the same
    >motivation, I would be happy to give you explicit directions. :-)
    >Keith Henson

    How is it possible to support both memetics and evolutionary psychology? The former aims (at least this was Dawkin's aim) to replace genetics as an account of social life. It argues that memes are the basic element of social life, not genes. Evolutionary psychology/sociobiology is basically a branch of genetics and argues that social life is an expression of genes.

    One of the fundamental problems facing memetics is the relations between genes and memes. Did memes arise out of genes? If genes are central to biological life (which was Dawkin's argument at the time he came up with the idea of memes), and memes are central to social life, then surely memes must have evolved from genes - where else could they have come from? Memetics is supposedly derived from an evolutionary outlook, yet one of the most fundamental evolutionary issues, the evolution of memes, has not been attended to.

    Steven Thiele

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