RE: FW: "Retarding the Progress" - A Call for Specifics

Gatherer, D. (
Fri, 05 Mar 1999 09:06:13 +0100

Date: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 09:06:13 +0100
From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <>
Subject: RE: FW: "Retarding the Progress" - A Call for Specifics
To: "''" <>

For the benefit of those who haven't been inclined to follow the
blow-by-blow action in this thread, I'll just summarise the main points:

1) Aaron asked for specifics on how his thought contagionist approach
had retarded the memetic analysis of the Hutterites. Paul and I gave
some quite detailed feedback on this, which Aaron did not accept. In
particular Aaron disputed that my _general_ criticisms were applicable
to that _specific_ example. I attempted to show that they were, given
that Aaron does apply his general model to that specific example
(complete with mnemon calculi etc.).

2) In a second thread, Generalising Symbolic Memetics, which soon became
subsumed in the other one, Aaron tries to generalise his calculus of
mnemon instantiations so that it can refer to non-mnemons, eg.
behaviours or other culturally identifiable items. I pointed out that
this represents a considerable retreat from the position Aaron takes in
his 1998 paper. I asked what then is left of the calculus of mnemon
instantiations in its original form, but Aaron's response was unclear
(at least to me).

3) I made the point yet again, that Aaron's theory, in the form it is
set out in the 1998 paper, has a large Chomsky-shaped hole in it. Aaron
did not attempt to answer this, but rather claimed that I had
misrepresented his theory. It is however, there for all to see in his
1998 paper. Since the calculus of mnemon instantiations has however,
been replaced in Aaron's theory by a 'general symbolic memetics', we
might say that we have passed this particular calculus.

This, I hope will be the last post in this thread (unless of course
Aaron has any corrections to make to the above).


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