Re: Constructive discussion

Paul Marsden (
Thu, 17 Sep 1998 12:29:36 +0100

From: "Paul Marsden" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Constructive discussion
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 12:29:36 +0100

Mario wrote

> OK. We are having a constructive discussion this way, after some
> misunderstandings. The 'including verbal behaviour' is certainly a good
> between the different approaches, since it states that we can ask
> we agree that these questions can address attitudes towards statements and
> these questions can be used to study which statements are within a
> 'mental library'?

Well, quite predictably, I have a problem with mental libraries as things in
the head, and internal attitudes as internal things, but I think we can meet
half way on this one. I think it is a useful heuristic device to posit
cultural instructions (SR cycles) in understanding human behaviour, much
like Cloak and Allison, and to a lesser degree Cavalli-Sforza, and I think
memetics might be able to generate an epidemiology of cultural instructions
(i-culture) by observing behaviour (m-culture) of course. So yes, I would
agree (but I know Derek has major reservations about this, and there are
problems) that we might in principle usefully talk of instructions and the
operation/manifestation of those instructions through behaviour, and if you
want call this a mental library,that's fine, but I'd prefer to call it a
*cultural repertoire* to avoid any allusion to homuncularism: But what I
don't want make the ontological leap (yet) and say those instructions, qua
instructions are things in the head.

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

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