Re: reading a book

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sun 24 Apr 2005 - 15:49:39 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: reading a book"

    At 08:10 AM 23/04/05 -0700, Scott Chase wrote:


    >I'm reminded of Keith Henson's frequent
    >refrain about how a gene can exist in a cell or "on
    >paper" since Aunger addresses this too. I think Aunger
    >is trying to diverge from the standard memetic
    >assumption that memes can be represented as mental
    >states, behaviors and artefacts.

    One of the things valued in science is *simplicity.* What is the same in a stretch of DNA and a listing of that DNA on paper or some other media? It is the information.

    Same with memes.

    I don't know of exceptions to "memes are information" in any of the major resources about memes/memetics on the net.

    Does a brain contain a meme? Observing behavior will tell you. (Can the kid tie his shoes? Does a person going into a dark room feel for the light switch? Does the hitter walk away from home plate after failing to hit three pitches?)

    Does a printed page contain a meme? Have someone read it and find out if their brain now contains the meme by the above test.

    Does an artifact contain a meme? That's harder. Museums have these "what it is?" displays. Sometimes nobody can figure out what something was or was used for.

    But they often do. Reverse engineering has been a substantial part of my job at times.

    Keith Henson

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