Re: What's in a Meme? Reprise and paper - comments welcome

Bill Benzon (
Fri, 18 Jul 1997 17:14:50 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 17:14:50 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: What's in a Meme? Reprise and paper - comments welcome

John Wilkins:
>... However, some memes occur
>as causal nexuses in the common discourse, that is, in societal structures.
>These are not stored as neural substrates, for they may not be recognised
>(else, why is sociology not intuitive?). They supervene on neural
>structures, but the information is not so stored.

I don't understand this. Are you saying that social structures are not
stored in the brains of people enacting them? If not there, then where?
In the aether? & does that mean we have aetherically active memes? Is
supervention the process whereby aetheric memes interact with material

Or do you mean to indicate that social structures are an "emergent"
phenomenon? That is, individuals interact according to rules encoded in
their brains, but the interaction of individuals results in patterns of
social interchange which are not themselves encoded (do birds have to be
explicitly wired to fly in V formation in order for V formations to occur
in flying flocks?). If this is what you have in mind, well, we don't need
memes of any sort to emergent behavior. All we need are the various rules
stored locally in the brains of individuals.

As for sociology not being intuitive, neither is linguistics, but I don't
know of any one using that as a reason to argue that language is not
somehow encoded in human brains.

Quite independly of my arguments -- which are a bit snippy in tone -- could
you give some examples of what you mean by "causal nexuses in the common

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

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