Re: New Memes Book

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Tue 22 Mar 2005 - 18:59:40 GMT

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    Dear Kate,

    > essentially I believe that the idea of which the blueprint is a
    > representation can also be represented mentally. The same
    > information can be carried in pen-and-paper and also in a brain.
    >> Do you hold that all ideas are mental representations?
    > Yes, I think I do.

    I'm still a bit unsure of what you mean, but it seems that the blueprint, which represents the same thing that the idea does, is not, strictly speaking, a representation of the idea. No? Both are memes, and, in fact, different forms of the same meme, since they represent the same thing?

    >> Are we talking about prototypes or schemata? What about
    >> sensori-motor schemata?
    > I'm not sure what you mean by "prototypes or schemata". Could you
    > explain a bit further?

    Since you are talking about mental representations, I thought you might be talking about prototypes or schemata. The details might pertain to the how of replication. Many people, including Kant, Piaget, Bartlett, and Sowa, have defined 'schema' in different ways. To quote myself in a college paper about Piaget:

      'Schema' may loosely be defined as an internal representation of a class of entities, actions, states or relations. Typical schemata might be prototypes (standard examples) or frames (lists of characteristic properties). Schemata are organized into hierarchical networks.

    > I see memes as representations. As such they gain their meaning from
    > whichever representational system they are a part of; and unlike
    > genes that may be one of many. Whereas genetic information is always
    > represented in the language of DNA, memetic information can be
    > represented in natural languages, in blueprints, in mathematical and
    > musical notation, or whatever. Equally each representational system
    > can be realized in a variety of media: paper, CD, speech, etc. So
    > ontologically a meme may be a piece of writing on some paper; it may
    > be a portion of speech on the radio; it may be a thought in a brain;
    > etc. This is a threefold picture: when we want to know about any
    > particular meme we need to ask what *information* it contains; how
    > that information is *represented*; and in what *medium* the
    > representation is realized.

    Thanks, that helps clarify your view. :-)

    I surmise that for you a major way that memes are transferred between humans is via instruction. Imitation (learning by observation) would be a minor part of memetic transfer, since it relies upon inference. Yes?



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