Re: Meme pools?

Dr I Price (
Sun, 22 Jun 1997 03:37:55 -0400

Date: Sun, 22 Jun 1997 03:37:55 -0400
From: Dr I Price <>
Subject: Re: Meme pools?
To: "" <>

Bill writes

>Could we perform such an analysis> [Mendelian in effect]> in the cultur=
domain? That is, instead
of saying of just about everything "that's a meme," we look at the specie=
of culture and identify memes according to whether or not their presence =
absence affects cultural phenotypes. This is not a very well-defined
proposal but...

It does require that we start with some conception of cultural species,
begin identifying them, and classifying them.:<

My reaction, unless I have misunderstood you Bill, is to say that the
analysis has been started.

Hull, for biology, and Hodgson [citing earlier work] for economics have
made great strides. I am not familiar with the literature in other fields=

but Tom Lloyd and I have attempted the analysis in organisations. Please
may I suggest you read


Neither has the detailed research in it that I would like [funding
problems] but both have been subjected to full and formal double blind
refereeing etc.

The cultural 'species' [or other taxonomic grouping] are, for me, things
like Protestantus Mormonis, a member of the family 'chistianity' and the
kingdom 'epistomemes', or boeing or Coca-cola [species perhaps of the
family 'corporation' or 'Memetics list'; an emergent species still
evolving its own rules, or 'English' or 'Welsh' or ??.

Now this is not precise and the species certainly cross pollenate more th=
do conventional, or proper, species [see earlier posts or the papers].
There is a lot of work to be done testing these 'orthodox memetics' type

Of course to even pursue the enquiry that way we have to start with the
hypothesis that it is the organisation that is the phenotype [personally =
prefer phemotype], but, as I have said before using the idea of memes, an=
Metaphoric Replicator Intentionality, seems to me to grant the prospect o=
a unifying paradigm for understanding a lot of observations on 'cultural
evolution' which are already well established.

If Price
Active Personal Learning, Guildford UK

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