Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 08:57:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Structure of facts and opinions
I recently was off on a mental tangent, thinking about some things related
to memetics. This produced something that seems to me to be an insight
(and at the moment not anything more) so I'm trying it out here, so that
it can be subjected critique, approval, mutation, replication etc..
Here is my idea: In the domain of public discourse, certain memes can
take the form of "facts" and others can take the form of "opinions". The
dichotomy itself is a popular meme, and that makes the idea almost too
obvious, but in the tradition of science a simple idea can go pretty far.
And also in the tradition of science the model should be its own
meta-model, eg. the memetic structure of facts/opinions should account for
the prevalance of ideas categorized as facts and opinions.
My motivation is that the fact-opinion dichotomy can reveal in part why
certain ideas travel in different ways. My contention is that opinions
and facts have different but relatively distinct structures, and that the
structure of symbolic processes involved in recieving information in
"opinion" form differs from the structure of those used in recieveing
information in fact form. I understand that there is considerable
variation in people's "epistemological" habits, but it seems exceedingly
likely that publically available patterns (accepted by all who desire to
speak to others smoothly) for opinion transfer and fact transfer are
uniform enough to study.
I will not jump into any analysis of the varying fitness of fact and
opinion-form memes or the qualititative differences in the type of
mutations that might occur if a meme is alternately either in fact-form or
opinion-form, but I hope that we will discuss this as a thread.
-Robert P. Levy-
A random quote...
"It is a secret both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many
things than one." -Francis Bacon
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Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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