Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance

Bill Benzon (
Fri, 11 Sep 1998 11:05:00 -0400

Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 11:05:00 -0400
From: Bill Benzon <>
Subject: Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance

Mario Vaneechoutte wrote:

> I can see what you mean, I think. But than, imagine the child is laying in bed and starts
> thinking. Because it is dark, it does not observe objects or behaviours, but it uses mental
> representations of these objects to do its thinking. Isn't it having mental memes?

The child is having thoughs and images, but they aren't memes. They're just thoughts and

> Aren't
> there representations of real objects, or of statements it has heard (like: Marc Dutroux is
> evil) inside the child's brain? Can't we call these Dawkinian B memes?

One can do that. But, for better or worse, that just isn't how I think about things.

> Do you have some of your ideas online?

Yes. Go to me website at:

There you will find quite a bit about cultural evolution and thought. Two papers are most
directly relevant:

Culture as an Evolutionary Arena
Culture's Evolutionary Landscape: A Reply to Hans-Cees Speel

There is also a link to Hans-Cees's reply to my paper. That link is broken, alas. You'll have
to navigate there directly from his website.

You might also want to look at a paper I co-authored with David Hays on "Principles and
Development of Natural Intelligence." It's about what goes on inside the brain.

All of these papers have been published in The Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems.

Bill B

William Benzon
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