From: Scott Chase (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun 01 May 2005 - 19:54:40 GMT
This is rather preliminary, but after reading in _The
Electric Meme_ how Aunger sees Juan Delius as a
predecessor to his view of neuromemetics, I thought
I'd give Delius a serious read. I find much more
clarity of thought in Delius's papers that I've read.
His view on neural states is that the neural
constellations that are encoded memes are
*functionally* equivalent across individuals. Thus they are not the same (person to person) at the level of neural changes. Interestingly Lashley refers to a functional equivalence of parts in his "Cerebral Organization in Vision" paper in regard to his notion of reduplication of the engram through the cortex. Delius refers to a mnemic redundancy due to internal replication, but fails to mention Lashley's concept of reduplication. He snubs Lashley and Hebb, since as Aunger points out he makes use of the Hebbian synapse, yet I find no mention of Hebb in Delius's papers either. Delius refers to "mnemobiology", but fails to mention Semon. He even says how the analogies between biological and cultural evolution have been looked at, but then how it has only been seriously considered in the couple decades previous to his 1989 paper, thus snubbing Julian Huxley's noogenetics, which I have demonstated in previous posts anticipated memetics very closely. These are only nitpicks that reflect my pet peeves with memeticists, especially a "prominent neuroethologist" like Delius. His discussion of a conversation between Tinbergen and Lorenz invoked
"memory traces" and I recently pointed to how Lorenz invoked the "mneme" itself in his Russian MS. Ugghh. No respect (see Rodney Dangerfield).
I'm pretty sure William Calvin is an exception to the
rule in that he, in his _The Cerebral Code_ makes some
reference to both Hebb and Lashley. More on this
Funny thing about Aunger's reference to Delius in his
endnote that acknowledges Delius as predecessor and
departs from Calvin, is that he talks about how Delius
addresses ecological relationships. Recall how I found
flaws in his book with regard to how Aunger addressed
ecological relations? Aunger says of Delius: "He
emphasizes the parasitic nature of memetic replication
and notes that memes can be beneficial symbionts or
Tsk, tsk. The careful reader would note that Delius
looks at the symbiotic relations of memes to hosts and
includes not *only* mutualism and parasitism, as
implied in Aunger's simplistic dichotomy, but an
*excellent* rendition of commensalism too. If you recall my little tangent about brains being like gopher tortoise burrows and neuromemetic indigo snakes and gopher frogs could live in there, you must appreciate how absolutely impressed I am with Delius for his very masterful depiction of these ecological relationships (mutualism, parasitism AND commensalism) and how superior his treatment was to that of Aunger's confusion.
Juan Delius. 1989. Of mind memes and brain bugs, a
natural history of culture. found in _The Nature of
Culture_ edited by Walter Koch. Bochum: Studienverl.
Juan Delius. 1991. The nature of culture. found in
_The Tinbergen Legacy_. edited by Dawkins, Halliday, and Dawkins. Chapman and Hall: New York
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