From: Kate Distin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue 15 Mar 2005 - 16:10:03 GMT
Vincent Campbell wrote:
>You should check out the archives of the list for some lambasting of
>Aunger's book. I must admit it quite put me off reading it- as most of the
>criticism was very neuroscience, and beyond me, so I thought I couldn't read
>it without worrying that it sounded ok to me, but probably wasn't.
>Actually if you go further back into the archives you'll find lambasting of
>Blackmore's and Lynch's books too.
I suppose I should brace myself!
>So where are you in the 'what are memes?' war- memes in the mind? memes in
>behaviour? memes in artefacts? some combination of the lot? memes as merely
>a metaphor? memes as a crazy, silly idea thought up by people with nothing
>better to do in their lives?
Not crazy, not silly and probably not merely a metaphor. Having started out as a memes-agnostic, exploring the idea as an intellectual exercise more than anything, I am now much more of a realist about them.
Memes in the mind - yes. Memes in behaviour and/or artefacts - it
depends what you mean by "behaviour" and "artefacts": memes in artefacts
like books and CDs - definitely; memes in spoked wheels (to use one of
Dennett's examples) - no. Memes, on my view, are fundamentally
representational, so anything that isn't a representation can't be a
meme. This turns out to be a key point on which I disagree with Dennett
and Blackmore in particular, both of whom use a lot of examples based on
things that I don't see as memes at all. The other major point at which
our views diverge is their claim that the mind is a meme-complex. I
think we can have our cake and eat it: that memetics is compatible with
a conventional view of the conscious human mind.
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Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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