Re: Durkheim redux

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue 12 Apr 2005 - 13:15:08 GMT

  • Next message: Price, Ilfryn: "RE: Durkheim redux"

    At 09:46 AM 12/04/05 +0100, you wrote:
    >Derek Gatherer wrote:
    >>>Dennett in particular is fond of phrases like "the haven all memes
    >>>depend on reaching is the human mind" [Consciousness Explained, p. 207,
    >>>pbk]. Well, where does he think they hang out before they "reach" a
    >>>human mind?
    >>I think he thinks that they hang out in books and other artefactual media

    Or other human minds.

    >>But they need to get to minds because only there can they program for
    >>their further dissemination to more books, minds and so on.
    >>(I'm not advocating this, just expressing my interpretation of Dennett)
    >I'd be happy to advocate this view - in that mental copies of memes are
    >the more "active" and copies that are written, recorded, etc. the more
    >"passive": meaning that the active ones have replicative advantages and
    >the passive ones have advantages of stability and persistence.

    One way I have put it is that memes don't have real world consequences until they are in a human mind.

    >But before they get into books, etc. they have to start off in a human
    >mind. Ideas don't originate in books. My question to Dennett et al. is
    >where they do originate, if not in actual human minds.

    There are weird corner cases, where a few ideas for electronic circuits
    (topology) have been evolved in computers. But of course memes originate in human minds, most often when the human is trying to deal with some real world problem and figures out, creates, etc a new way to do something.

    I can't imagine the origin of memes being a problem.

    Keith Henson

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