From: Kate Distin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu 26 May 2005 - 09:31:28 GMT
Ray Recchia wrote:
> A review in parts
> (I haven't posted in over a year, so for those of you who don't know me,
> I'm an attorney living in the rural northeastern United States. I have
> an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, and I have been subscribed to
> this mailing list for over six years)
> Distin does a good job of skewering critics of memetics, pointing out
> misconceptions and logical errors on their part. I was also pleased to
> see her attack Dawkin's characterization of religion as a parasite.
> Memetics should ultimately be about the properties and characteristics
> of ideas and their transmission, not about the truth or accuracy of a
> particular set of beliefs. I would say that "The Selfish Meme" is
> probably closer to my own thinking than prior works about memetics.
> Distin starts and keeps her focus on mental processes, a welcome relief
> from the half decade distraction following Susan Blackmore's effort in
> "The Meme Machine" to make memetics a behavior only field. As I've
> discussed previously, a purely behavior focused memetics leaves us
> unable to examine the transmission of abstract ideas unassociated with
> any particular type of behavior.
> Abstract ideas and abstractions in general are the central focus of
> Distin's book. Distin refers to them as "meta-representations".
> "Representations", according to Distin are our mental concepts of
> specific items. So for example, I might have representation of a a
> stick. A meta-representation is an awareness of a property about the
> stick that can be applied to a variety of situations and sticks. So
> for example, recognizing that the stick can be used as a lever, and that
> levers can be used in a variety of situations. Another example of a
> meta-representation might be the notion of "color" or "quantity",
> specific abstracted qualities of the stick or sticks that can be applied
> to any number of different objects.
> Memes in Distin's theory are meta-representations that are replicated
> between humans. Humans use representation systems to replicate memes
> (meta-representations). Language is representation system that humans
> are naturally pre-disposed towards, but we are also capable of other
> developing other representation systems, such as mathematics and musical
> notation, that are distinct from language but are somehow offshoots.
> I like the notion of meta-representations, and I think that she is
> correct in characterizing representation systems as the major way in
> which meta-represenations are replicated. Overall, I think her book is
> an important one that refocuses memetics on thought processes.
> Ray Recchia
> (more in part II and possible III whenever I get around to it.)
Thanks for this, Ray. I really appreciate the positive feedback.
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 : Thu 26 May 2005 - 10:46:27 GMT