re. internal/external

Paul Marsden (
Tue, 1 Sep 1998 19:15:51 +0100

From: "Paul Marsden" <>
To: "memetics" <>
Subject: re. internal/external
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 19:15:51 +0100

Bob wrote

>Simple things like variations in synaptical
>refractory periods, rates of synaptic discharge, etc., etc., and the roles
>a multitude of neurotransmitters, hormones, pheromones and other complex
>chemistry and their interactions makes scientifc rigor a very difficult
>achievement in this field sometimes.

Agreed, but this field you talk about, as I (and I think as Derek) sees it,
is not the field of memetics. Rather I would argue that a
representationalist (memetic) stance should not rely on such things, but
should be used as a heuristic device to explain observable behaviour. To
operationalise memetics, internal states may or may not exist in any number
of manners, but what is important is behaviour (including verbal behaviour).
Memetics, form this perspective is a sort of behaviourism, but not a naive
behaviourism, as the selectionist process gives culture a designed structure
such that we use intentionality (form the meme/individual) as a heuristic
device for explaining it.

Paul Marsden
Graduate Research Centre in the Social Sciences
University of Sussex
tel/fax (44) (0) 117 974 1279

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