Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id DAA02456 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Mon, 28 Jan 2002 03:16:22 GMT Message-Id: <email@example.com> X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 5.0.2 Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 22:09:19 -0500 To: email@example.com From: Ray Recchia <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: The Symbolic Species In-Reply-To: <LAW2-F173S5osuL5dcB00010ac3@hotmail.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
I read this book a few years ago. I liked it and I recommend it. My
favorite example from the book was the chimpanzee covering his mouth to
prevent a reflex scream when he discovered some berries as a way
illustrating the difference between our semi-conscious vocal control (with
emotions still controlling tone and some cries) with the complete lack of
vocal control of a chimpanzee, and the near completely conscious control
both humans and chimps have of their hand movements.
I think his symbolism hypothesis does a better job of explaining the
difference between humans and other animals than anything else I have read
although I suspect he would be the first to admit that it still remains
unproven. If humans do possess a unique ability to combine symbols it has
to be differentiated from the ability to recognize abstract properties like
color and quantity that even parrots possess.
I also do not equate 'symbol' and 'meme'. My interest has been in studying
non-genetic replication, and this would apply more broadly to non-symbolic
behavioral imitation (like imitating someone's mannerisms). I do think
that linguistic symbolic replication has special properties but I suspect
that what can be learned from studying non-symbolic replication will help
in understanding symbolic replication and vice versa.
At 06:49 PM 1/26/2002 -0800, you wrote:
>I'm just starting The Symbolic Species: The co=evolution of Language and
>the Brain by Terrence W. Deacon. Have many of you read it? What did you
>think of his approach and the use of the term "symbol" to mean much the
>same thing we use meme to mean? He seems to have pretty good credentials
>but his bibliography seems to have a number of notable omissions.
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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