Re: Clincher?

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Sep 11 2001 - 21:49:41 BST

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    Subject: Re: Clincher?
    Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 13:49:41 -0700
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    > And in a sense Darwin was right in saying that there was no theory
    > of evolution if the behavior of organisms isn 't its driving force, but
    > where almost everyone sees this as it were an affect of natural
    > selection, it would be better, IMO that is, to go one step back and
    > to see what Lamarck has to say... besoins, what people need to sur-
    > vive is important. And that, in the way I approach Lamarck, and I
    > do read him in French, so no translate- errors can slip in, is IMO,
    > still ' a reaction '.
    > We ' react ' upon things which change, we ' react ' upon things which
    > change along lines of memory and/ or lines of acquired traits.
    > And we do that, not along lines of genetic change, but along lines of
    > neurological change, along lines of memory, along lines of acquired
    > memes.

    Sounds like you're trying to express evolution entirely in terms of memes.
    This is a reversal of the effort to reduce memes (and culture in general)to
    genes. I don't see how either side is reducible to the other. Genes yield
    certain bodily and neurological characteristics. Memes yield certain
    cultural preferences. We're like trains running on parallel tracks. The
    question is whether both tracks are directed selfishly and blindly (Dawkins)
    or if bodily and cultural traits follow from freely-chosen adaptations
    (Sheldrake). Can we comprehend genes and memes atomistically, or do we need
    the holistic context of the organism?

    > Lamarck writes, " Or, cet ébranlement subit donne lieu à l' instant à une
    > reaction qui, rapporteé à toutes parts au foyer commun,..." ( page 518,
    > Philosophie Zoologique).


    > And yes, to round this up, we have to see Lamarck, approach Lamarck
    > as indeed as the origin of the genuine study of mind.
    > IMO, Lamarck is and was always misread.
    > Lamarckism has to be dealt with as it were psychology, not biology.

    As Scott (tentatively) pointed out, it was Lamarck who plucked mentality out
    of "metaphysical" abstraction and put it squarely in the domain of biology.
    Minds are living, and therefore psychology is a subset of biology. But that
    doesn't mean minds are reducible to brains (any more than brains are
    reducible to minds). The point is that biology is the study of mind as
    much as matter. Every organic structure is guided by natural memory. In
    that sense, minds are integral to all levels of organic activity, not just
    neurological. There's no possibility of understanding life without
    understanding mind.


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