Re: New Memes Book

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Wed 23 Mar 2005 - 11:47:43 GMT

  • Next message: Bill Spight: "Re: New Memes Book"

    Bill Spight wrote:

    > Dear Kate,
    > 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?
    Yes - both are representations of the same portion of information.

    > 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'm not familiar with this work and consequently wasn't being quite this technical.

    > 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?
    > Thanks,
    > Bill

    I certainly think that Blackmore, for example, makes too much of imitation - she seems to *define* it in such a way that it's the only means of memetic transmission, and I don't agree with that.

    But I do agree with writers like Richard Byrne and Anne Russon, who talk about different levels of imitation, some of which are more complex than others, so I wouldn't dismiss the role of imitation either.


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