Re: RE: Unified perspective

Ilfryn PRICE (
Thu, 21 Jan 1999 08:09:52 -0000

From: (Ilfryn PRICE)
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 08:09:52 -0000
Subject: Re: RE: Unified perspective

Richard Brodie (Hi there richard) writes

>It's not that reductionism is WRONG, it's just that it's not always USEFUL.

Exactly. The distinction of right / wrong and useful / not useful is an
important one in challenging any particular memetic pattern. As we put it in
commenting on reductionism / holism in 'Shifting the Patterns'

Interestingly, much of the debate concerning these two views, even from
advocates of the new, tends to become couched in terms of right or wrong,
superior or inferior. In struggling to take over the replication space of the
older pattern, the newer one acquires some of its predecessors
characteristics. Those of the holist persuasion often fall into the right or
wrong stance when they criticise reductionism. There is an alternative stance,
that of seeing both views as equally valid and, rather than arguing for one
pattern being superior to another, accepting the difference. In different
circumstances, different explanations create different possibilities and
openings for action. Beyond pattern shifting, as a single act, is seeing
different patterns and their consequences and expanding choice.

>Emergent systems become largely independent of the substrate from which they

Yes, and IMO we will not understand memetics at the level of individual minds
or wider social organisations, without appreciating complexity and emergence
(Gabora's use of Kauffmans models explores this at the mind level mine does so
at the organisational level)

>I am excited by the interaction of the "software" of the mind --
>memes -- with the "hardware" layer that is being called evolutionary

Yes again. I am starting to wonder (work submitted to JoM-EMIT) whether we
should see 'choosing' - making different responses to environmental stimuli -
and 'learning' as basically part of the hardware - a good trick in genetic
possibility space, and 'stuckness' (all the stuff of group think, social
contagion, mental models etc) as memetic.

So to Jay who wrote

>As a layman trying to understand all this neat new stuff, it seems like the
time is ripe for an integrated perspective combining evolutionary
psychology, behavioral genetics, brain physiology, and memetics.

Has anyone written it?>

That is my shot at the answer



If Price
Facilities Management Graduate Centre
Sheffield Hallam University
Unit 7, Science Park, Sheffield S1 1WB
P +44 [0]114 225 4032
F +44 [0]114 225 4038

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