New JoM-EMIT paper: "Controversies in Meme Theory" by Nick Rose

Bruce Edmonds (
Wed, 10 Jun 1998 13:53:47 +0100

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 13:53:47 +0100
From: Bruce Edmonds <>
Subject: New JoM-EMIT paper: "Controversies in Meme Theory" by Nick Rose

New paper, JoM-EMIT, vol. 2:

Controversies in Meme Theory

Nick Rose
Department of Psychology
University of the West of England, Bristol. UK.
and the Meme Lab, Bristol, UK.


Meme theory and the notion of cultural evolution present the
possibility of a fundamentally new way of understanding human
culture. Yet some of the speculation within meme theory has become
confusing and ambiguous. Four areas of meme theory are critically
reviewed. These are ambiguity in the definition of a meme and
confusion regarding the distinction between replicator and
the problem of inheritance of acquired characteristics, the
between memetics and sociobiology, and the selection or mutation of
memes being carried out by conscious foresight. Whilst I suggest
directions which might resolve these problems, the purpose of this
short review is to help generate the wider debate required to
these important issues.

Keywords: meme theory, replicator, phenotype, Lamarckism,
sociobiology, self-centred selectionism, Cloak, Dawkins, Dennett

The paper is available at URL: