Re: Memes are Interactors

John Wilkins (wilkins@wehi.EDU.AU)
Fri, 10 Apr 1998 19:38:21 +1000

Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 19:38:21 +1000
From: John Wilkins <wilkins@wehi.EDU.AU>
Subject: Re: Memes are Interactors
In-Reply-To: <>

On Fri, 10 Apr 1998 02:47:38 +0100 wrote:

>>No I think this Wilkin's definition is closer to your position than
>>think because a meme, in his view is NOT "passive", but "active"
>because he
>>claims it has the capacity for "endogenous" change.
>If he does, he is as guilty of fallacious concretization as anyone who
>attributes mental characteristics to indivisible particles (like
>used to do). Memes can only get changed in the process of their
>replication. They can't change "by themselves", since they don't even
>*exist*. (They're just abstractions, invented for our convenience.)

He does not. Endogenous change is a property of information storage
systems. The physical systems in which information is stored degrades as
a function of thermodynamic entropy. Each transmission of a degraded
message is the replication of a changed meme.

I make a lot of the distinction between the genotype-analogue, the meme,
and the phenotype-analogue of behaviour or interpretation, unlike some,
like Dennett, who think of memes as "barely naked replicators". But I
think the error I do not commit is the sin I first read in Marcuse -
reificationism. Memes are, as genes were for Williams, cybernetic
abstractions; the bookkeeping of cultural evolution.

John Wilkins from home
Not at all. I delight in all manifestations of the terpsichorean Muse.

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