Re: Wilkins on the meme:engram relation

From: John Wilkins (
Date: Sun Dec 02 2001 - 23:22:27 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Wilkins on the meme:engram relation
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    On Monday, December 3, 2001, at 10:08 AM, Scott Chase wrote:

    >> Evolutionary genes (replicators) and memes (also replicators)
    >> are not the same as the physical entities that are usually their
    >> instantiation. I am tending to see replicators as abstract entities
    >> with
    >> no causal role. In sum, they are bookkeeping entities, as Wimsatt once
    >> said.
    > What about placeholders for future elaboration?
    No. I believe that replicators are abstractions, and abstractions do not
    have causal powers. What actually *happens* is thermodynamic transfer of
    energy in the biology case and psychological and sociological
    interaction in the cultural case. "Information" is just a way of
    tracking and analysing data sets.

    Kenneth, this goes for your friend's website (which, BTW, is a reworking
    of stuff done by Brooks and Wiley, and which is, in my opinion, flawed
    for the reason I give here).

    John Wilkins
    Head Communication Services, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of
    Medical Research, Melbourne Australia
    Personal page: <>

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