Re: A Question for Wade

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Tue Nov 27 2001 - 04:17:54 GMT

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    > Re: A Question for WadeDate: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 22:56:56 -0500
    > "Wade T.Smith" <> "Memetics Discussion List" <>Reply-To:
    >Hi Joe Dees -
    >>You are cutting off exclusively at the end - the product, and saying that
    >>only the millions of cars can be memes. I'm pushing inclusively from the
    >>beginning, and saying that not only are cars (instantiations of) memes,
    >>but so are schematics of cars, auto production factories, and the physical
    >>and aesthetic principles governing their construction.
    >And, hmmm, I'm not disagreeing with that, at all, except for the very
    >last phrase, because, until ideas are embodied, they are not memes, in my
    >'only artifacts are memes' stance.
    >Yes, the schematics are memes, and the individual nuts and bolts in the
    >factory are too.
    >But, that's all incidental to the product of the factory, in this case,
    >the car. I'm not cutting off anything, any more than biologists cut off
    >the trilobite- that it was there is incontrovertible- that it was part of
    >the environment and timeline that produced homo sapiens is evident- but,
    >we are talking about this particular product at this particular time. (In
    >the trilobite's case, it's a fossil, but, that's irrelevant. It was here,
    >and we know it. Steam power was here, too, and we know it. We could even
    >make it available again for our factory, thanks to all those memes about
    >it in the library.)
    >The novel meme is introduced, and accepted, or not, and then used, or
    >not. The wheel is now everywhere, where once it was only one. But the
    >wheel is now something for anyone at any time to grab and use, part of
    >the operating environment, common- it's out there, available.
    >And nothing is a meme until it is available. And no idea is available
    >until it is artifact, of some type.
    My memory is (imperfectly) available to me, and much of what is in there was communicated to me by others and I selected, intentionally or inadvertantly, to internalize it. Some of it I mutated (to in my opinion improve upon ideas communicated to me), and some of it I accepted as it came to me. Memes are both product and process;, both structure and function, and although logically distinguishable, empirically, these two aspects are inseparable and inextricable intertwined.
    >Now, if that is a violation of the type/token distinction, then I need, I
    >guess, to know what that is. A token is a representation, and a type is a
    >category, where a token can be something taken for something else, if
    >agreed upon culturally, and a type is a general description, like car for
    >Cadillac, which is taxonomic and not merely cultural.
    >I don't think I'm missing a distinction between those terms, or
    >conflating them.
    A car, and a picture of the same model, and the memory of driving one, and the written-down name of the model, are all part and parcel of the existent memeplex. As such, they share something in common, and that is their meaningful referent; I consider this meaning-relation, independent of how it is instantiated, to be the meme.
    >- Wade
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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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)

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