From: Bill Spight (email@example.com)
Date: Mon 21 Mar 2005 - 19:52:19 GMT
>> How do you deal with the fact that a spoked wheel, say, for a
>> horse-drawn cart circa 1500, was sufficiently simple and manifest to
>> serve as a blueprint?
> By "serve as a blueprint", presumably you mean that someone could make a
> copy of it without the benefit of any written instructions?
Well, 'copy' is a little strong, isn't it? And we don't just mean
someone, since skill is involved. Besides, they were probably
> This is certainly true, but not - on my account - because the wheel is a
> meme. I'd say that the wheel itself does not contain any information
> about which of its characteristics is significant - information that
> would be contained in an actual blueprint.
Or inferable from it.
> If someone who knows about
> wheels, or at least about how to build other things from the materials
> involved, brings his existing memes to the situation, then he could use
> them to construct a new representation of that wheel, with information
> about the wheel's materials, construction, size, etc.
The new representation being a drawing or blueprint, or such?
> But that
> information is not intrinsic to the wheel. I could look at it and see,
> for instance, that the wood's grain runs parallel to the spokes, but
> have no idea whether that fact is structurally significant. It could be
> coincidence. If a row of screwheads, say in the hinges of a door, are
> lined up neatly with each other, does this matter or was it just
> something that mattered to the very neat person who hung the door?
> You've no way of telling, just by looking at the artefact. You need to
> have existing knowledge and understanding in order to work it out.
> On this basis I'd say that a wheelwright who represented the wheel and
> thus copied it would not have simultaneously *copied* the meme of which
> that wheel was an effect in the first place. Rather, he'd have
> constructed his own novel meme (which may or may not exactly correspond
> to the original) with the help of his existing memes.
What meme? If the meme is representational (such as a blueprint), what
are you talking about?
> Was the "parallel
> grain" bit of information in the original meme? He'll never know. But
> of course history matters to memes as much as to genes, and even if he's
> managed to construct an identical meme to the original this doesn't
> count as copying if, historically, it originated in his mind not in the
> original meme.
There is more to talk about here, but I am still unsure what you mean by
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