From: Kate Distin (email@example.com)
Date: Mon 25 Apr 2005 - 07:40:38 GMT
Keith Henson wrote:
>> Because there is a qualitative difference between human and (most?)
>> animal culture which even the most ardent anti-speciesist wouldn't
>> deny . . .
> If memes, elements of culture, are just information, what's the problem
> with whale songs, bird songs and tool making, and chimps termite hunting
> with tools and cracking nuts on anvil stones being memes?
Memes are information but not all information is memetic. (Actually all
information is potentially memetic I guess - in that it can all
potentially be metarepresented by humans and shared between us - but not
all "raw" information, shall we say, is memetic.)
At this stage I'm sure it's not possible to say dogmatically that none
of the examples you give is memetic. But see my reply to Bill about how
I distinguish memes from non-memetic information.
>> . . . and this - together with emerging evidence about the potential
>> cultural sophistication of at least some individual animals - leads me
>> to believe in a continuum between non-human and human culture, with
>> memes evolving from more primitive mental/cultural replicators (or
>> insert alternative word here if you prefer.
> If it is replicating information that is passed from one animal to
> another, by learning or imitation is defined as a meme than animals that
> start doing it are replicating memes.
> Animals were able to learn from their environment, such matters as where
> their den was located or . If an animal picks up behavior modifying
> information from another animal, that a meme being passed. The ability
> to pass information from one animal to another comes originally from
> animal's ability to learn.
> Mammals are generally good at this, primates are very good, great apes
> even better, and humans unsurpassed. It isn't hard to see where the
> mental capacity to support culture comes from (where memes are elements
> of culture).
> Keith Henson
I'd agree with this "continuum" view, although as I've said elsewhere
today I wouldn't therefore automatically describe what animals do as
[BTW, see my version of what you wrote, above. I suspect for some
reason I'm missing some bits of your message. On my screen these
apparent gaps coincided with the ends of lines.]
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon 25 Apr 2005 - 08:57:24 GMT