Re: A review of "The Selfish Meme"

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Sun 05 Jun 2005 - 12:41:55 GMT

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    ----- Original Message ----- From: Kate Distin <>
    > Kenneth - I'm struggling to get hold of the distinction you're making
    > between objectification and representation. Could you say a bit more
    > about it?

     You got me good !

    Well, it all got to do with words. At first glance it is very obvious that words are in a certain sense arbitrary_ that they, even we all accept their meaning, don 't possess any reality; no guarantee for any objective truth_ where thus objective stands for a kind of truth which surpasses that what most people are agreed about. No questions asked !

    A pencil is just that because we gave it such a name, it could be named completely different, and it holds our attention because we gave it a special function:- it can 't be something else than the thing we invented it for. We can be sure if people talk in good faith about things that the words used mean for all parties the same. But to get a real hold of what is a stick you must have ' objectified ' the very thing in your mind.

    Representation of the thing is schematic, symbolic. Objectification is more detailted, more substantial.

    Not sure I 'm making a distinction some how or fusing them together. Neither I suppose, it is more that one ( the objectification) is part of the other ( representation), more a completion of what you sees as a solely representation. I haven 't read your book, I ought to I know, so can 't be sure what you really mean by representation, although you refer to them as mental concepts of specific terms. And it is with this I got, no real a problem, but it seems somewhat fuzzy.

    Damasio, refers to it as synonym for ' mental image ' as for ' neural pattern '. His mental image of a specific face is a representation, and the same can be said about the neural patterns which come into being when the brain processes the perceptual- motoric input. Maybe I got more of a problem with the word itself, again Damasio, " the im- plication of its use is not so much its ambiguity but that it suggest that the neural patterns of the mind of the brain " represent " any object in one way of another as it IS_ thus a literal reliability, thus like the structure of the object is copied within the representation." There is no such thing !!

    So in a way I think you should be careful in how you use the term_ do you comprehend that although we are all biological the same; and any given object can drag certain characteristics out of us and we can assume that our manners of reaction/ respons to it are likely quite the same, that the representation of the artifact we have is then the right one? Although that it isn 't !? There is a bunch of correlations by which an internal integrated picture is re- constructed. We reconstruct a sufficient like image about stick to understand eachother. But that doens 't mean that what we ' represent ' points to a reality or is a guarantee for accuracy. That is where ' objectification ' comes in, I suppose_ when we talk about stick in the context of baseball we all know what a kind of object we' re talking about.

    And that is the only way we even can ' think ' about the object called stick
    ! Without the nominalition, the term that Scott uses, without mastering the nuances and the stratification of our language we can 't come to a descent definition, more- over we wouldn 't understand what stick all can stand for. Thus whatever we can recall/ represent about stick depends upon which kind of linguistic toolbox we have access to. Although, for the most of us stick is quite the same object, but it can be different/ more difficult for someone who is less fluent to get his message across.

    You need inevitable a certain kind of objectification to uberhaupt represent anything_ I don 't know if the next is the kind of nominalisation where Scott talks about, but giving it a name isn 't sufficient_ we need/ we MUST agree about any possible couched in meaning. You need all of the complex of experiences/ ecpectations/ descriptions/ etc which are never near the truth, which never can/ will pin point down what you really mean_ only tactful/ useful descriptions are possible. Representations!!

    Is this of some help !?



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