**Previous message:**salice: "Re: Memes inside brain"**Reply:**salice: "Re:"**Messages sorted by:**[ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id TAA00484 (8.6.9/5.3[ref pg@gmsl.co.uk] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from fmb-bounces@mmu.ac.uk); Thu, 4 Oct 2001 19:01:11 +0100 Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 12:56:37 -0500 (EST) From: "Derek Gatherer" <gatherer@biotech.ufl.org> Message-Id: <200110041756.MAA11085@snipe.biotech.ufl.org> Re: Memes inside brains Content-Type: text Sender: fmb-bounces@mmu.ac.uk Precedence: bulk Reply-To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk Apparently-To: memetics-outgoing@alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk

When one attempts a mathematical deduction, one applies the mathematical

rules inside one's brain to solve the problem at hand. Surely the rules,

which are memes, must be inside the mathematician's brain in order to

warrant a successful solution to the problem without consulting some master.

Derek:

What you propose is really a variant of the situation Houghton uses (the shopping list problem)

- see the reference list of my reply to the commentaries on my second last

JoM paper for a reference to this. Houghton actually uses this thought

experiment to demonstrate that we do not store such things internally.

Adapting this to your situation, imagine a methematician who could only

solve the equation with difficulty. He struggles to write the next line,

and is forced to consult a book. As soon as he has consulted the book, he

says 'of course!', realising he knew the next line all along. Once he has

written it is seems obvious. A few lines later the same problem arises.

Despite wracking his brains, he is stuck. so he goes back to the book - and

again he mutter 'of course - how is it possible I didn't remember that'

and so on. The production of cultural artefacts is not simply a matter of

storage of the information needed to make them in some kind of neural

media. The brain is obviosuly more subtle, and less relaible, than any

computer-software running chip.

I know how to use binomial theorems to calculate the probability that

2 or more people in a room of 60 people share the same birthday. but don't

ask me to do it without consulting a book. I know perfectly well how to do

it - I just need a little reminder to get me started. The formulae aren't

really stored in my head, because I can't just pull them out at will. But

then how is it that a brief glimpse of the right page in my stats book will

bring it all flooding back??? They are sort of stored and sort of not stored.

This situation is so common in all kinds of human activities that it completely

precludes all attempts to establish any quantitative science of measuring

what is stored in peoples heads (which is what the internalist memeticists

seem to want to be able to do.)

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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: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit

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