Re: Durkheim (resend)

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sat 02 Apr 2005 - 20:26:51 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Durkheim redux"

    --- Bill Spight <> wrote:

    > Dear Scott,
    > > I do
    > > like this particular aside (Boyd and Richerson, p.
    > > 82): "For any phenotypic performance there is a
    > > potentially infinite number of rules that could
    > > generate that performance." That pretty much
    > punctures
    > > the simplistic memes in the noggin approach
    > (though
    > > Boyd and Richerson place cultural variants in the
    > head
    > > too a certain degree).
    > Well, anything simplistic deserves puncturing. ;-)
    > But the thing is, any scientific theory is
    > underdetermined, and it is
    > impossible to escape interpretation. What is, in a
    > sense, amazing, is
    > how similar interpretations are within cultures, and
    > how well language
    > and other cultural signals are disambiguated every
    > day. In fact, people
    > normally do not notice the ambiguities of ordinary
    > communication. And
    > when information is given off, rather than
    > intentionally conveyed,
    > interpretations within cultures are remarkably
    > similar.
    Maybe I'm drawing a little upon Skinner here, but the act of interpreting itself is a behavior and as such might be somewhat overt. We can thus compare these interpretations and tell if similarity exists.

    What I'm concentrating upon, at least for argument sake, is how can it be known that the individual manifestations have any similarity at all? I depart from Skinner in giving credence to the mind and mentalist explanations. When inside th noggin, how do we know that similar interpretations are similar at the level of encoding, storage, and retrieval? One can take *different* roads to reach the *same* destination.

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