From: Dace (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun 24 Apr 2005 - 21:15:22 GMT
> From: Scott Chase <email@example.com>
> - --- Dace <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > We don't like to
> > think that our own mental
> > spawn can turn against us and hunt us down for
> > lunch. Not a pleasant
> > thought. But then it's no different from a virus.
> > (I'm just coming off a
> > nasty bout with the flu, and I definitely feel
> > preyed upon). Like a virus,
> > a meme has no life outside the context of a living
> > organism. Memes are
> > alive in the sense that they participate in human
> > life, meaning that human
> > consciousness is not the only actor in the mind.
> > Sometimes our thoughts
> > think us more than we think them.
> > If the humanist fallacy is to deny that human agency
> > can be compromised
> > memetically, then the reductionist fallacy is to
> > claim that a mind is
> > nothing more than a collection of memes.
> Can't follow the first part, but I can support the
> second about memeplexical reductionism.
> > But then,
> > as Bill Spight pointed
> > out, we clearly have ideas that are not culturally
> > transmitted.
> > > Steve wrote:
> > > I don't claim any seceret universal truths. For all I
> > > know, our concept of memes can be reduced to the
> > > concept of electro-chemical "memories."
> > We can certainly equate memes with memories, i.e.
> > memories of beliefs,
> > tunes, styles, behaviors, etc., but equating
> > memories with electro-chemical
> > traces in the brain is not warranted.
> Would you discount the electrochemical bases of
> memory? What other possibilities are there? Memory
> must have its bases on neural activity and structure,
> hence what happens at synapses and these happenings
> will have electrochemical or molecular correlates? No
> geist needed. See Hebb's synaptic efficiency
What's needed beyond synapses is a rememberer, that is, a person who
remembers. Neurons do not remember. In fact, there is nothing in the
entire world that remembers. There is only the person *who* remembers.
It's who, not that. You leave out the who, you've got nothing. Trying to
stick the who into the brain, as in a homunculus, is of course useless.
Ultimately, we must simply admit to the reality of self-existence as beyond
mere physical existence. While the "self" is an inherently vague concept,
so is "life." Vagueness is a fundamental, unavoidable feature of both
biology and human studies. It is in fact the meaning of life.
> > A memory is
> > not the same as a "memory
> > trace." While it's true that in order to remember
> > something, you must
> > activate a particular memory trace in your brain,
> > once you do so, the trace
> > loses its definite configuration, becoming
> > completely fluid and unstable.
> So you think, then, that memory traces exist? That's a
> > At this point, the trace must be reconsolidated. As
> > neuroscientists
> > discovered, if the process of reconsolidation is
> > blocked-- either by an
> > electric shock or a protein-inhibiting drug-- the
> > memory is lost forever.
> And if someone drinks to much liquor they might forget
> what they did the night before. So what? Electric
> shock is a physical process and protein inhibiting
> drugs are, ummm..., substances. Ted, you're becoming a
> physicalist. Watch out!
This does not represent a change in my thinking. It's not as if I've ever
denied the importance of the physical object. But the physical object, even
a living object such as a brain, is never enough.
> > Normally, of course, the trace is reconsolidated,
> > and the memory can still
> > be accessed in the future. But how does this work?
> > How do we account for
> > our ability to reconsolidate a memory trace after it
> > has lost the
> > configuration that made it a memory trace to begin
> > with? Where's the
> > information on the basis of which the trace can be
> > reconfigured? The only
> > possible solution is that we literally remember the
> > past, and this is the
> > basis on which the trace is re-established.
> > Point being that when we remember, we aren't just
> > looking up information in
> > our brains. The memory trace is not the memory
> > itself but a means of
> > accessing it.
> Going back to Semon, acessing or retrieval is the
> process (ecphory) by which a trace (engram)is brought
> forth. I'd say there's a difference between memory and
> it's access, just as we need to account for encoding
> (or engraphy in Semon's terms).
Yes, that's my point. A memory is not the same as the memory trace located
in the brain. The neural trace merely enables access to the memory but is
not the memory itself, which exists only in the consciousness of the
individual, i.e. the rememberer.
> > Brains don't remember-- they just
> > help us remember.
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