Re: Memetics or artefactics?

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Wed, 09 Sep 1998 10:31:28 +0200

Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 10:31:28 +0200
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: Memetics or artefactics?

Tim Rhodes wrote:

> Mario Vaneechoutte wrote:
> >What then do you want to study when you propose that memetics should be
> >artefactics?
> >Pottery?
> I think this confusion over the use of the word "artifact" goes back to
> something I asked about here on this list a while back, "What term can we
> _agree_ to use to describe the physical manifestations of a meme?"
> I would prefer to call it by a nifty new term some of you might have heard
> of: "MEME" (I suspect Dereck might agree with me here).

Some problem: the physical manifestation of a meme is a meme.

> And to call the
> thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that spawn such a thing... well, gosh, how
> about something like, say... THOUGHTS, ATTITUDES, and BELIEFS perhaps?!?
> I understand that this is radical thinking and as such unlikely to meet with
> widespread approval. But I offer it for your amusement nonetheless.
> ;-)

As I tried to explain. When we want to pursue some analogy between culture and
biology, which is one of the hallmarks of memetics (isn't it?), we can ask which
cultural phenomenon resembles most the physical gene, with respect to having
informational content, being replicable by a processor, having high copy
fidelity, etc. I'd say it is written, printed, electronic texts, ... In a sense
this would better be named a meme and not the attitudes, thoughts, beliefs or
cultural artefacts like pottery. This is one aspect of memetics as I see it: it
enables fundamental considerations about information and its evolution. Of
course there is already semiotics which studies the same.

The other aspect of memetics which interests me is the possibilities it might
offer to gain better insights in the way human minds are influenced and interact
with cultural 'artefacts' (incl. words, fashions, ideas, ...), by adding an
evolutionary compound to social sciences.


Is it Derek or Dereck? Beware for mutant memes!

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