RE: A Test

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Oct 08 2001 - 12:16:14 BST

  • Next message: Vincent Campbell: "RE: Memes inside brain"

    Received: by id MAA08185 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Mon, 8 Oct 2001 12:21:00 +0100
    Message-ID: <>
    From: Vincent Campbell <>
    To: "''" <>
    Subject: RE: A Test
    Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 12:16:14 +0100 
    X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21)
    Content-Type: text/plain
    Precedence: bulk

            Hi Bill,

            Ah, the weekend's over, and the storm's upon us.

            Sorry if these comments are behind the debate's current stage.

            <There are real theoretical problems with requiring that something
    has to
    > be actually replicated, rather than replicable, to be a meme.>
            OK, but the notion that something can be a replicator without
    replicating is surely even more problematic?

            <Suppose that a person learns two different chunks of information.
    One he
    > passes on, one he does not. What distinguishes them? If we say that the
    > only theoretical distinction is that one is passed on, that raises the
    > question of why? Is there some mysterious memetic force that makes one
    > chunk replicate while the other does not?
         To be cultural it must be passed on. Culture is not something
    individuals have, communities have them, societies have them.
    Culture is a plural concept, it requries more than one individual. Hence,
    if memes are units of culture, whether that be cultural transmission or
    cultural inheritance, then there are distinct in that regard. As to why,
    well that is the 64,000 dollar question. I don't pretend to have an answer
    to that one, especially for those apparently non-adaptive behaviours like
    religious celibacy/suicide.

            <If we are going to distinguish memes from other culturally
    > material, the fact of transmission is not the way to do it. The purpose
    > of memetic theory is to explain cultural inheritance. If we simply
    > determine what is a meme by the fact that it is culturally inherited, we
    > are mumbling tautologies.>
            I don't see this. I think it's crucial we distinguish between any
    piece of information and cultural information if we are to usefully have the
    term meme at all, otherwise it's not needed- 'information' already serves
    perfectly well if there is no distinction.

            I'd be interested to see what other things you consider to be
    culturally replicable.


    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)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 08 2001 - 12:26:26 BST