Aristotle was a Memetician

Paul Marsden (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 06:18:40 -0400

Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 06:18:40 -0400
From: Paul Marsden <>
Subject: Aristotle was a Memetician
To: "" <>

Rhetoric and Memetics have a lot in common, and the comment made that
Aristotle (one of the first rhetoricians) DID use the concept of memes in=

his theory, not just implicitly but also explicity.

Aristotle talks of a rhetorical device called enthyMEME, which is a
truncated syllogism whereby the rhetorician (host) posits the proposition=
that necessariy lead to a certian conclusion without actually stating it.=

Rather the rhetoricain lets the audience draw the conclusion for
themselves, and therefore ensuring infection by active participation in t=
process. For example if I wanted to infect you with the meme, "No men ar=
Gods", you probably would ignore this message in the plethora of other
messages you are constantly receiving and it wouldn't get replicated but =
I invited you to actively participate in the forced vreation of the meme =

All men are mortal

and then

No Gods are mortal

and letting you conclude that "No men are Gods" I would be more successfu=
at spreading that meme.

I don't know if Dawkins knew he was borrowing from Aristotle when he coin=
the term meme, or it is just serendipity. (or perhaps Dawkins is a
re-incarnation of Aristotle, now that's an interesting
meme................) =

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