From: Scott Chase (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 14 Apr 2005 - 00:14:09 GMT
--- Chris Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> cf. the extensive recent stuff on artefacts and
> ~meme (which means not
> the trivial dinner party 'cultural virion'
> conception) [re]generation,
> as I mentioned in parentheses previously. It's not
> all about backwards
> baseball caps y'know.
How's 'bout the heavy criticisms coming from people like Dan Sperber and Maurice Bloch that appear in
_Darwinizing Culture_? I think what Sperber says about transformation (versus replication) and what Bloch says about re-creation are very important and can't be swept casually under the rug.
What Bill was hinting at with the intuitive physics of
children might be of importance too. I have a vague
recollection of a lecture from a learning theories
class where the professor talked about the path a kid
would expect and object dropped from a flying plane to
take versus the actual path it takes. What Bill said
about kids running by a dropping stuff in a box jogged
that memory from its cobweb over there next to the
computer simulated Skinner box "experiments" I did in
that class. Computer similated rats don't have the
quirks one wonders about after reading the classic
Breland and Breland (1961) "The Misbehavior of
Notice the citations of Hebb, Lorenz and Tinbergen. I
thought of this one several times recently when
reading memetics books, especially when reading
Aunger's _The Electric Meme_ where he talks about the
eclipse of behaviorism.
Then he starts taking about evolutionary psychology in
a way that reminds me of what Popper said in
_Conjectures and Refutations_ about Plato's theory of anamnesis. If we are, as Aunger's characterization of EP on page 40 of the hardback would lead us to believe, truly born with *content* and *knowledge* (as opposed to modules based on *form* or *structure*) is evoked culture merely "remembering" what happened in the EEA. As an aside, based upon what Popper also said about the "Golden Age" in _Open Society and its Enemies_, I wonder if the EEA was our evolutionary Eden and the Fall is analogous to our developing maladaptive behaviors like using birth control. I'm also recalling Lorenz's discussions of "domestication" resulting from civilization's deleterious effect wrt our innate patterns. Man that guy Aunger really makes me think.
BTW after reviewing what Blackmore says about 'copy
the product' versus 'copy the instructions' I think
this might be a good conceptual tool to apply in
looking at the variations of the Ring theme. Not sure
_The Ring 2_ was such a great vehicle/implementation/product when related to the replicators/representations/instructions one finds in the Suzuki originals. I'll have to test this hypothesis by reading _Spiral_.
Another movie comparison I'd love to do would be _The
Village_ with Skinner's book _Walden Two_. In the
movie they set up a utopia where they keep the kids
and thus subsequent generations in line by the threat
of the monsters in red that live in the woods. That's
not too unlike what they do to the sheep in _Walden
Two_. Instead of an electric fence, they have string
and the tradition of the sheep keeps them, usually,
from leaving the confines of the enclosure, but I
think there was a mishap with loose sheep in the book.
The innocuous string takes the place of an electric
There's no analogy between the inhabitants of the
village in the movie and the compound where Skinner's
(I mean "Frazier"'s) humans live, since the former are under threat of punishment if they encroach on the woods and get the red cloaked monsters irate. The inhabitants of Walden Two are under a positive reinforcement regime instead. Yet the main character of Walden Two, Burris, is a psychologist and has a name similar to BF Skinner's, so I wonder if Skinner identified himself with Burris or Frazier...
Enough digression for ya?
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