Re: memetics-digest V1 #1480

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri 20 Feb 2004 - 05:45:23 GMT

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    >From: Steven Thiele <>
    >Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #1480
    >Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 15:36:39 +1100
    >If you want an equivalent in biology for Durkheim notion of 'solidarity'
    >(which includes the conscience collective and the representations
    >collective) in sociology it would be Lovelock's notion of gaia. Durkheim
    >proposed that social life is a singular sentient entity and Lovelock
    >proposed something similar in relation to the biosphere. Both proposals are
    >utterly unscientific.
    Was Durkheim truly a full-bore groupminder (akin to the Star Trek Borg) or did he assert that there was an important aspect to collective thought or ideas that might entrain individuals, contrary to the egoistic philosophy of the self-made person living on an island inventing ideas anew for themselves?

    I don't think I'd adhere to his sociology *in toto* yet, but I think the collective representation notion by itself is fascinating if nothing more as a fossil in the history of ideas. Are you familiar with Levy-Bruhl's usage of the concept?

    There's a lot of groupmind (or global brain) stuff out there these days with much of it having to do somewhat with Teilhard's noogenesis. Though both French, I'd hazard that Teilhard and Durkheim were on different levels when it comes to whom to take more seriously. Come to think of it France has given us some interesting characters: Lamarck, Teilhard, Piaget, and Durkheim to name a few.
    >At 11:31 PM 19/02/2004 -0500, you wrote:
    >>>From: Keith Henson <>
    >>>Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #1480
    >>>Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 22:48:25 -0500
    >>>At 10:29 AM 20/02/04 +1100, Steven wrote:
    >>>>If anyone claims to be explaining social life, the first thing they need
    >>>>to do is to lay out what they are trying to explain. What are the
    >>>>phenomena that constitute social life? This requires both investigation
    >>>>and a long conversation with sociology. To begin with the assumption
    >>>>that there are memes and then to look around to see what it explains
    >>>>(and to turn a blind eye to what it doesn't) is to approach matters back
    >>>>to front isn't it?
    >>>After this post I am beginning to wonder if meta analysis along the lines
    >>>of a certain former poster is appropriate?
    >>>Private email is also ok.
    >>I think Steven's questions are important, coming as they are from his
    >>perspective. I have been reading the granddaddy of the Standard Social
    >>Science Modellers, Emile Durkheim, wondering from the outset some of the
    >>same things. One thing that is starting to slightly annoy me about
    >>Durkheim is the social fact *sui generis* refrain that constantly pops up.
    >>I agree that social causation is an important consideration and hope to
    >>unravel convergence between the "collective representations" and "memes"
    >>(or more aptly memeplexes) on this, but I have a psychobiological bias
    >>towards mentifacts and kinda start rolling my eyes a little when Durkheim
    >>tries too hard to set sociology apart from other disclipines. To put it in
    >>historical context, I think he was trying to etch out a territory for
    >>sociology proper, but I kinda steer towards a more interdisciplinary view,
    >>which might make me more receptive to social psychological approaches,
    >>such as those of Janis with groupthink or Festinger with cognitive
    >>dissonance than pure sociology of the *sui generis* school. But Durkheim
    >>was a maverick, so quirks are to be expected.
    >>On the other hand, social psychology is a social science. Would it as a
    >>discipline adhere to the SSSM that the EP'ers despise? Certainly
    >>memeticists would not only want to learn something about sociology, but
    >>maybe more importantly social psychology, dealing as it does with
    >>individuals within social systems. Then again it would be unsurprising if
    >>social psychologists took interest in memetics as a newer view of things.
    >>Take off on a romantic weekend or a family adventure to these great U.S.
    >>This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >>Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >>For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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