Re: new review of memetics/sociobiology/EP

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sat 04 Feb 2006 - 00:58:04 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: new review of memetics/sociobiology/EP"

    >From: Derek Gatherer <>
    >Subject: Re: new review of memetics/sociobiology/EP
    >Date: Fri, 03 Feb 2006 08:41:41 +0000
    >Thanks Robin
    >Nice to see you are still with the list. You are right about "hidden
    >hand". I can't remember exactly where I got it from (David Hull?), but a
    >quick check on google seems to indicate that it is from Adam Smith, and
    >therefore probably means something slightly different to what I intended.
    Maybe. My memory is that in classic liberal economics it was an *invisible hand* so your term is a bit different worded, but not sure how close in meaning. It could shimmer forth from the walls of Plato's cave or off the pages of Kant with his phenomenal versus noumenal dichotomy. With Freud we had the manifest versus latent.

    People enthralled with an explanatory framework may tend to portay the naysayers as being under the power of their chosen idee fixe. Jungians would ascribe archetypes as the hidden factor underlying human behaviors, evolved modes of thought that influence myths and dreams. Freud might have ascribed it to latent sexual material long ago repressed.

    Very good article. I should have expected as much from you. You keep memetics at a critical arm's length and aren't all starry eyed about your approach. You do a good job of comparing sociobiology, EP and memetics, reminiscent of Laland and Brown's comprehensive _Sense and Nonsense_.

    Just mentioning Huxley as a predecessor gives you kudos in my book.

    Your discussion of the trait-individual problem gives much food for thought, especially when pondering how memory units and behaviors could relate to individuals and how long these things last versus the genes carried by an individual. The word evanescence may be useful here.

    When you talk about EP's search for universals, this was the overlap wih Jungian thought that I was pointing out to Keith, in that Jung was an evolutionary psychologist long before the term was formalized.

    The concepts you list citing Jones have some Kantian undercurrents, time and space, etc. These categories were evolutionized by Lorenz (the grandpappy of sociobiologist and EP thought) and encultured by Durkheim (the SSSM bogeyman of the EP'ers).

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