Re: Memes Meta-Memes and Politics 1 of 3 (1988, updates 2002)

From: John Wilkins (
Date: Mon Feb 11 2002 - 23:45:21 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: Memes Meta-Memes and Politics 1 of 3 (1988, updates 2002)"

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    Subject: Re: Memes Meta-Memes and Politics 1 of 3 (1988, updates 2002)
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    On Tuesday, February 12, 2002, at 10:05 AM, <> wrote:

    > In a message dated 2/10/2002 11:23:12 AM Central Standard Time, Keith
    > Henson
    > <> [writes in thread Re: Memes Meta-Memes and
    > Politics 1 of
    > 3 (1988, updates 2002)]:
    >> [Not to detract from Dawkins, but as I have dug deeper into the
    >> subject,
    >> Dawkins himself recognized William Hamilton as more of an original
    >> thinker. For certain though, Dawkins made the work of Hamilton,
    >> William,
    >> Trivers and a host of other players available to ordinary people with
    >> his
    >> popular works.]
    > Hi Keith.
    > Credit for evolutionary replicator theory should also go to F.T. Cloak,
    > whose
    > 1973 paper developed evolutionary replicator theory for both biological
    > molecules and culture. The paper not only develops evolutionary cultural
    > replicator theory, but also evolutionary biological replicator theory.
    > I take it that giving Dawkins credit for popularizing is not meant to
    > detract
    > from Cloak, Hamilton, Trivers, etc. either.
    > --Aaron Lynch
    > Cloak, F. T. 1973. "Elementary Self-Replicating Instructions and Their
    > Works:
    > Toward a Radical Reconstruction of General Anthropology through a
    > General
    > Theory of Natural Selection." Paper Presented to the Ninth International
    > Congress of Anthropological and Ethnographical Sciences, Chicago.
    > Scanned
    > version online at

    Thanks for putting that online, Aaron.

    I think some credit should also be given to Donald Campbell and Stephen
    Toulmin. Campbell did his first evolution of culture work in 1960, and
    Toulmin's 1972 _Human Understanding_ is an almost complete treatment of
    the evolution of culture (he calls memes "transmits"). Of course, Scott
    Chase will now tell us that it was first done by Nietzsche or
    Schopenhauer or Porphyry :-)

    John S Wilkins
    Head, Communication Services
    The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
    Parkville, Victoria, Australia

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