Re: Review of "The Selfish Meme" part II (1)

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Wed 29 Jun 2005 - 18:53:30 GMT

  • Next message: Kate Distin: "Re: Review of "The Selfish Meme" part II (2)"

    Ray Recchia wrote:
    > At 02:59 PM 6/21/2005, you wrote:
    >> Ray Recchia wrote:
    >>> As I mentioned in the first part of this review, the central focuses
    >>> of "The Selfish Meme" is "meta-representations" and their transmission.
    >>> "Meta-representations" are abstractions, observations about objects
    >>> in the real world removed from specific objects and broadly applicable.
    >>> Being able to recognize something like "color" as a separate property
    >>> of an object and being able to recognize it in many objects would be
    >>> an example of a meta-representation.
    >> No - these are just ordinary representations.
    >>> "Representation systems" such as language and mathematics, allow
    >>> humans to replicate "meta-representations".
    >> No - these systems give meaning to representations. We meta-represent
    >> when we abstract information from its current representational system
    >> and re-represent it in another way. So "two" is a representation in
    >> the English language of a particular number. We meta-represent when
    >> we realise that we can also represent that number in different ways:
    >> "deux" (French language), 2 (Arabic numerals), II (Roman numerals), 10
    >> (binary). Meta-representations are representations of
    >> representations, thoughts about how things are represented, the
    >> movement of information from one representational system to another.
    > This is quite a bit different than what I took from the book (and I no
    > longer have it with me). What you now seem to be claiming is that a
    > meta-representation is a process rather than a thing. It the process of
    > comparing different representations in different representation systems
    > and modifying them based on those comparisons.
    > So then memetic reproduction would be the transfer of those processes?

    p. 128: a meta-representation is a representation of "not external objects or events, but other representations." A meta-representation is not a process, but a particular kind of representation: one which represents other representations, rather than something concrete like a table or even something more abstract like a colour.

    > What I took from your book was that a meta-representation was a higher
    > level representation that could be applied broadly to a number of a
    > objects. So for example, "blue" would be a meta-representation because
    > it was a property that applied to a number of different objects. Alex
    > has not only the ability to recognize "blue" and identify it, he can
    > also recognize the concept of "color", which I thought would have been a
    > meta-representation of a meta-representation.

    "Blue" is just a representation like "table". The test is: what is the content of this representation? Only if its content is another representation does that make it a meta-representation.

    I'm going to break there and reply to the rest of your message separately, or this is going to get unmanageably long.


    =============================================================== 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) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed 29 Jun 2005 - 19:11:32 GMT