Explanatory coherence

Dr I Price (PEWLEYFORT@compuserve.com)
Thu, 31 Jul 1997 03:55:59 -0400

Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 03:55:59 -0400
From: Dr I Price <PEWLEYFORT@compuserve.com>
Subject: Explanatory coherence
To: "INTERNET:memetics@mmu.ac.uk" <memetics@mmu.ac.uk>

Sorry if I have crossed a thread here. I lost Bill Benzon's latest
erudition in the confusion of 91 messages last Sunday night [I'd been awa=
for a weekend] and had to retrieve this excerp from the archive

>Now, if one starts thinking of explanatory coherence as a selective forc=
one could begin to see Thagard's theory as an evolutionary one -- though =
would certainly resist the notion (he explicitly critiques David Hull at
one point and asserts that his computational view is superior to the
evolutionary analogy).

It's a substantive and impressive piece of work.>

1. Bill it seem so. Is there a summary on-line somewhere.

2. Interestingly an expilicit critigue of David Hull is what
memetics might predict. Phiosophers as much as scientists thrive on
reputation, an asserting one's own view/ critiquing others delivers more
than does agreeing with someone or exploring for mutual understanding.
Selfish meme's rule. I wonder if it delivers maximum 'progress in
understanding' per unit of investment by the sponsor [whoever is paying].=

Superficially probably not but the overall system may optimise pretty wel=
No reason why it should optimise is there, from a meme's point of view th=

3. Why shouldn't explanatory coherence be one of the selective forces in
'belief about the world' memes. After all expanatory coherence, if I
understand your precis of Thagard correctly, could be said to be a factor=

in the survival or otherwise of religous memes. Monotheism had less troub=
with early astronomy than did polytheism for example.

4. I think this is what fascinates me about memetics. It offers explanato=
coherence to an awful lot of stuff I have seen in organisations and read
about elsewhere. Its the old Huxley quote about Darwin "how irritating n=
to have thought of that" [and I have misquited it I'm sure]

5. Some interesting questions arise out of what next. If we assume there =
what Husslerian philosophers term, I understand, a facticity about the
world that is there whether the observer understands it or not, if then w=
assume that science is homing in on that facticity, and if memetics is
destined to become part of that facticity then what? What if we really ha=
worked out [or really do work out] the reason for our existence? [and
please treat this as a thought experiment not a claim - I don't want to
start a loop back through the potential pitfalls, absence of evidence etc=

If Price

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