RE: Rare original memetics document found

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon 16 Feb 2004 - 08:24:15 GMT

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            <Well, it's like how you can take "sarcast" and form
    > "sarcastic," and from there it's just a skip, hop, and a
    > jump to "sarcastics.">
    No, because the whole point of coining the word meme was to suggest a cultural analogue to gene, both phonetically- something that sounded similiar- and conceptually (i.e. a replicator). I'm not suggesting it's an automatic extension of any term, just the one that was coined in order to parallel genes.

            <Questions about how the word "memetics" formed and
    > propagated>
    But it wasn't formed and propagated it was derived through common sense by most people from Dawkins' original coining of the term, I've never heard of Lucas in relation to memes of memetics until the other day on this list, and Hofstader's reference to them is equally irrelevant to me in that context.

    It strikes me that your response highlights one of the central problems of memetics, which relates to earlier anthropological questions about the invention of technologies- e.g. was fire or the wheel or writing etc. etc. discovered spontaneously and idiosyncratically in many different locations at different times, or were they discovered just once and gradually disseminated around the world. Well, we now know that it's more likely the former than the latter- at least with early technologies.

    Similarly, we have to be careful not to confuse multiple adoption of terms
    (or beliefs or practices) automatically with cultural transmission, there may be nothing of the sort going on.


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