Re: Aunger vs. Pinker on Galton

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Sat 23 Apr 2005 - 18:05:14 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Aunger vs. Pinker on Galton"

    Dear Scott,

    >>> Hebb's work still stands up. It's classic.
    > He talks about reading books too. He was saying that
    > one might read something like a mysstery novel once.
    > But after finishing it how likely are you to want to
    > go and re-read it again?

    Well, did Chesterton or Sayers write it? :-)

    > More germane to hat I posted in reply to Kate, if you
    > do only read it once and aren't motivated to re-read
    > it and you tell a friend about it, have you replicated
    > its content or have you transformed and/or re-created
    > it? From what I vaguely recall of Bartlett people tend
    > to mess upp the story a tad here and there in the
    > retelling and when the story gts passed down a line of
    > people who haven't read it first hand what will
    > happen? At the end of say 10 people in succession,
    > could we say that the content has been replicated or
    > transformed? Maybe vivid sexual element might attract
    > to our innate erotic modular stuff and get passed on
    > with more fidelity.

    If I were designing an introductory undergraduate memetics course, Bartlett would be one of the texts. The fact that declarative memory is reconstruction does not bother me. After all, variation is one of the pillars of evolution.

    Fun quiz: Fill in the blank.

    Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him _____

    (For answers, see the P. S.)

    > Lashley torpedoes the idea of a homunculus too, but
    > not in the same way Blackmore did. I think he goes
    > back to something William James had said. He even said
    > something about ideas thinking themselves.

    That was Nietzsche's reply to Descartes' "cogito ergo sum". The Dinka people, who live at the headlands of the Nile, attribute agency to the thought, rather than the individual. See Lienhardt, "Divinity and Experience: The Religion of the Dinka" (Oxford Clarendon Press, London, 1976).



    P. S. Quiz answers.

    1) Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well.

    I think that this is what most people would remember.

    2) Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio:

    What Shakespeare wrote. Extra credit for the colon.

    Hamlet goes on to describe Yorick. He indeed knew him well. ;-)

    #1 seems to be the predominant variant. (Are these the same meme? I would say yes. Others, I'm sure, disagree. ;-) ) #1 is fitter. How come?

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