Re: What does the replicating?

Bill Benzon (
Sat, 7 Jun 1997 21:04:24 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 1997 21:04:24 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: What does the replicating?

Timothy Perper said:

>The answer, it seems to me, is not to say "Well, I can see that you are
>simply not with it!" Memetics has an appeal blending charm and promise.
>But charm is not enough. Sooner or later we need substance.
I have a great deal of sympathy with this comment. However, the reason I'm
interested in cultural evolution in general, and memetics in particular, is
that I think that traditional attempts to answer a variety of questions
about culture are intellectually bankrupt. Of course, merely translating or
duplicating those answers in memetic terminilogy is a pretty empty
exercise, but the biological theory of evolution is not empty. So I figure
it's worth while to see just how we can refit some of those ideas to
explain cultural evolution. And if this process produces a lot of dubious
chatter.....well, that's the way culture evolves. It probably takes a lot
of thrashing around to come up with on decent idea. We haven't been at this
game long and deeply enough to give up on it.

At the moment I don't see that there's any other intellectual game in this
particular town.

In any event, I tend to think the most important property of memes is that
they be countable, if not directly, then by proxy measures of various
sorts. More on this later.

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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