Re: Wilkins on the meme:engram relation

From: William Benzon (
Date: Tue Dec 04 2001 - 12:11:06 GMT

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    on 12/3/01 5:12 PM, at wrote:

    > That said, I will add that if Gell-Mann had made a mess of the word "quark,"
    > quantum chromodynamics would most likely still have developed, even if under
    > a different name. One can think of all sorts of vague ways that Gell-Mann
    > might have coined a word, perhaps referring to almost any subnuclear
    > particle, for instance. But if he had, then physicists would have probably
    > ignored the term and some other term would have emerged in connection with
    > very similar theoretical constructs.

    In the case of culture, what we need is a well-developed body of theory
    about cultural change. The reason "meme" is surrounded with confusion is
    that it doesn't link to any well-developed body of theory. It's just a word
    that's analogically attached to a body of biological theory that folks want
    to refit for cultural use. It's the refitting that's difficult.

    Bill B

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