Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id LAA17605 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Mon, 5 Nov 2001 11:47:40 GMT Message-ID: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3102A6D0E9@inchna.stir.ac.uk> From: Vincent Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: Study shows brain can learn without really trying Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 10:47:50 -0000 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21) Content-Type: text/plain X-Filter-Info: UoS MailScan 0.1 [D 1] Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
<It gives a competitive edge among intensely social animals like
> While it does nothing for survival of the group as a whole, reflexive
> consciousness determines which members of the group are more likely to
> reproduce. It's among primates that the terrain of competition begins to
> shift from environmental to social. The successful ones are those who are
> aware of themselves as minds and not just as bodies.>
Well, that would be so nice if it were true, that all we had to do
to be successful in life is to be self aware. Primate societies may be
highly social, but they are also highly hierarchical in both genders
(silverbacks and all that). Humans, as we've covered before, are by no
means the same, but from interpersonal interaction to international
diplomacy force seems to count for quite a lot.
<Step 1: I write an email and hit the send button.
> Step 2: My computer transmits the email.
> Step 3: Your computer receives my email.
> Step 4: You read my email.
> Do you really think steps 1 and 4 are essentially the same as steps 2 and
> Of course there's no self involved in steps 2 and 3. But these only
> automatically. There's nothing automatic about steps 1 and 4. The
> would never have been created without an individual to have thought of it,
> and it can't be understood except by a person who reads it. Only when I
> write it and you read it is it a "message." Otherwise it's just blind,
> electronic impulses. Transmission of electronic impulses requires no
> Transmission of ideas and memes does. In fact, a meme is an idea that
> on its own self-existence.>
I think what I'm driving at here is the problem of self and
consciousness, that it is possible for information transmission to occur
without the thing transmitting it being conscious of what they are doing.
Do individual guppies have selves? They appear to respond to the behaviour
of other guppies in experiments in a way that implies cultural transmission,
but would we therefore have to regard them as having selves, or are they
merely following a behavioural algorithm? Now, the next question is whether
we consider such transmission between guppies as memes or not, Dugatkin
does, no doubt others would not. Are we talking about something that has a
behavioural impact, or must it be something that is consciously sent, and
consciously interpreted, the kind of "message" you're talking about? Where
would the information transmitted in body language come into your equation,
I'm not disputing that what most people would refer to as memes
involve motivated individuals, just whether the self is an absolute
necessity for memes.
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