Re: New Memes Book

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri 18 Mar 2005 - 02:55:02 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: New Memes Book"

    --- Kate Distin <> wrote:

    > 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.
    > >

    I vaguely recall Aunger getting me confused with his explanations of basic undergrad biology topics, so I had some red flags go up after that for the parts of the book for which I wasn't as familiar with the subject matter. I posted my criticisms here I think.
    > >
    > >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.
    Hmm..., I'm still leaning towards agnosticism. I've ordered your book, so when Barnes and Noble comes through for me I'll start reading it.
    > 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.
    As for representations, have you read any of Dan Sperber's stuff?

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