the neural Aunger

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sat 23 Apr 2005 - 17:23:01 GMT

  • Next message: Bill Spight: "Re: Aunger vs. Pinker on Galton"

    I've just entered the chapter "Memes as a state of mind" in Aunger's book _The Electric Meme_. He regained some repect he lost with his botched biology earlier when he made delineations based on his focus towards substrate specificity and structural equivalence. I think I'll clean the slate, leaving a
    "blank slate" (sorry Pinker) so to speak, and make a fresh start at judging his ideas. In this "Memes as a state of mind" chapter he makes some good points about the chasm between number of genes and the number of neurons and greater possible number of connections. I have admiration for his appreciation of the implications of phenotypic plasticity. Like his arguments for transmitted versus evoked culture earlier in this book, I empathize with his opening the door for the importance of transmitted cultural stuff in a plastic brain. I'm just a curmudgeony meme agnostic who will have to be dragged the rest of the way kicking and screaming.

    On page 187 he talks about internal generation of brain activity in a way reminding me of Hebb's central process stuff. He even talks of reverberation inside the noggin. Given the role of Lorente de No's reverberatory circuit concept in the thought patterns of both Hebb and Lashley I find this quite amusing. This stuff definitely complicates matters for the psychological behaviorists, but I still think that the behaviorist stance wrt internal replication in memetics is an important theoretical barrier to cross.

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