Re: Words and memes

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Fri Feb 08 2002 - 06:42:41 GMT

  • Next message: Philip Jonkers: "Re: Words and memes"

    Received: by id FAA28447 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Fri, 8 Feb 2002 05:51:10 GMT
    Message-ID: <007601c1b06b$cf83dfc0$3e03aace@oemcomputer>
    From: "Philip Jonkers" <>
    To: <>
    References: <>
    Subject: Re: Words and memes
    Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 21:42:41 -0900
    Organization: Prodigy Internet
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
    X-Priority: 3
    X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
    X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2615.200
    X-Mimeole: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2615.200
    Precedence: bulk

    Hi, Rod & welcome to the list. Cheers...

    I've never used one of these discussion lists before so please excuse me if
    I've inadvertently breached any etiquette or technical issues.

    I was interested by the "There is bacon in the fridge" dialogue. The topic
    of whether the transfer of simple knowledge between people is memetic has
    been bothering me. Susan Blackmore sees imitation as fundamental in the
    definition of a meme, i.e. an individual displays a behaviour that is
    adopted by another individual. Is there imitation in the transfer of

    She also names ideas, catch-phrases and the like which are non-behavioral
    but which can be imitated (verbal imitation) nonetheless. To imitate means
    to copy,
    this does not necessarily have to be limited to behavioral imitation.

    Consider a university student. If the student responds to the enthusiasm
    that a tutor displays for a subject and imitates that enthusiasm few here
    would contest that this is memetic, the fact that the student gains
    knowledge of that subject is almost irrelevant. On the other hand, consider
    a tutor who unenthusiastically drums knowledge into a student, without that
    student adopting any of her tutor's behaviour, where is the imitation?

    Come on please. It is memetic. I contend it is at least. Knowledge has been
    passed on, so memes have been passed on.

    Aaron Lynch, however, defines a meme as "A memory item, or portion of an
    organism's neurally-stored information. whose instantiation depended
    critically on causation by prior instantiation of the same memory item in
    one or more organism's nervous systems." In this sense then, the propagation
    of knowledge is memetic.

    I don't think anyone else has done as much as Lynch in trying to establish a
    concise definition of meme, but I think that most people would agree that
    they personally hold a "gut feeling" as to what is and isn't a meme, hence
    the bacon debate.

    Now you insult me. Why don't you go back on the list and retrieve my very
    concise def. of the meme (recursive def.).

    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)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Feb 08 2002 - 06:01:31 GMT