"More Real"

Reed Konsler (konsler@ascat.harvard.edu)
Wed, 7 Apr 1999 12:04:13 -0400

Message-Id: <v02140b02b3312e43ad78@[]>
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 12:04:13 -0400
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
From: konsler@ascat.harvard.edu (Reed Konsler)
Subject: "More Real"

>I agree that all concepts are abstractions. But your actual physical
>business, its locks, stocks and barrels, is in Texas in the same whay that
>the gene is in the nucleus. What I'm driving at is: some things are just
>abstractions, just hypothetical entities, whereas other things are 'more'
>real. Granted, the concepts used to describe them are products of human
>imagination, but neverthless the 'realer' things can be pointed to. The
>problem for memetics is whether or not memes are tangible in this way, or
>whether they are 'just' abstractions.

Entities can be understood to be more or less real only (this
is an assertion) with respect to some context or paradigm.
One entity cannot be held as more real than another in any
final, absolute, universal sense.

It would be a principle of memetics that memes are entities
with a real material structure, wouldn't it? I think to question
that hypothesis would undo the endeavor completely. I can't
imagine an early biologist making any progress while asking
themselves "well, what if genes aren't really real?" The
investigators presumed that there were material genes and
hunted until they found them. Those scientists which were
less commited did not make that discovery.

I guess what I'm saying is that error can be corrected and even
grand errors serve to enlighten. But, being irresolute is
lethal to progress.


Reed Konsler konsler@ascat.harvard.edu

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