From: Scott Chase (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue 26 Apr 2005 - 23:02:01 GMT
--- Kate Distin <email@example.com> wrote:
> Chris Taylor wrote:
> > Okay so this is linked to my vague point about
> imagination: Is it simply
> > the case that this ability to recontextualise a
> pattern, and to exploit
> > serendipitous accidents (either in the world, or
> internally) is much
> > more advanced in us, but no different in kind; or
> is there more?
> > Is it the ability to deconstruct and recombine
> disparate parts that is
> > the key (fish genes in tomato iyswim), or can
> 'lower' forms do that too,
> > but again to a less advanced (=speedy?) degree?
> > Maybe we can think of 'living' ~memes as
> 'beginning' in a similar way to
> > the kinds of piggybacking genetic elements that
> exploit the copying
> > machinery of the nucleus (something that is still
> really poorly
> > understood actually, as we can't really get stuck
> in until we know how
> > genomes work). For instance a simple one Keith
> touched on is bird song
> > -- for some passerines, the more songs you know,
> the better
> > (reproductively speaking). This is I'd assume an
> indicator that (1) your
> > brain works better than okay, which is a good
> telltale for genetic
> > fitness and (2) you are a cluey lil' bugger that
> has lived long enough
> > to pick up lots of tunes (and other behaviours?).
> But what of the songs
> > themselves? They are alive by a
> Shannon/Bianchi+Hamann-style definition...
> > Cheers, Chris.
> I have two separate (and slightly conflicting)
> intuitions about this.
> The first is that the apparent continuum between
> human and non-human
> culture implies to me that the specifically human
> abilities are more
> advanced rather than very different in kind.
> But on the other hand there *does* appear to me to
> be a difference in
> kind: the metarepresentational instinct is not
> apparent in any other
> species. I've suggested that it emerged on the back
> of the language
> instinct - although it ironically freed us from
> being tied only to
> natural languages, enabling us also to construct
> representational systems (of written notation,
I think you've got something there with your metarepresentation concept. That was one part of your book I liked a lot.
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