Re: To have a mnemon

Aaron Lynch (
Mon, 08 Jun 1998 14:31:41 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 14:31:41 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: To have a mnemon
In-Reply-To: <>

Bill Benzon wrote:

>> I certainly have not claimed that anything like a full understanding of the
>> human mind can result purely from the study of memes as Dawkins defines
>> them. Neither has Dawkins.
>What's at stake is whether or not those sorts of mentalist memes have any
>meaningful existence at all. If they don't, then trying to study them is
>And I fail to see the cognency of quoting Dawkins' definitions. As far as
I can
>tell, Dawkins has never undertaken the sort of rigorous and systematic
>investigation that would give his definitions real force. He coined a
term, a
>very good one, and has made some interesting but fairly casual statements
>these memes as replicators. That's it.


I am aware of your longstanding position that memes cannot ever exist in
brains, and I therefore could not have expected you to find any use for the
quote from Dawkins.

Dawkins has not made the study of memes his professional priority. Yet I at
least hope you are not chagrined to have to spend valuable time on your
above critique of Dawkins.

As for Mr. Best, if he wanted to depart so radically from Dawkins's
definition, then he should have at least offered some discussion as to
why--rather than simply ignoring past art.

--Aaron Lynch

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