Re: Measuring Memes

William Chambers (
Tue, 1 Jun 1999 14:51:15 -0500

From: "William Chambers" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Measuring Memes
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 14:51:15 -0500


Thanks for the comments. I have some specific questions below.
-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: Tuesday, June 01, 1999 1:20 PM
Subject: Re: Measuring Memes

>In a message dated 6/1/99 10:10:58 AM Central Daylight Time,
> writes:
>>>> 4. Has the distinction between internal logical consistency and truth
> > discussed in the meme literature?
> I do not understand this I am afraid. <<
>I don't know if there has been any such thing in memetics literature. If
>anyone would be aware of the existence of material, Hans-Cees Speel would
>likely know as anyone. Something that may be closely related to this and
>also closely related to memetics, however, would be evolutionary
>- perhaps check out the Principia Cybernetica website for material in that
>direction. Pan-Critical or Non-Justificational rationalism is a nutshell
>the involved position of evolutionary epistemology - Principia deals with
>that a little more incidentally as it is more concerned with descriptive
>treatments (e.g. how vicarious selectors operate within a memetic
>of otherwise blind variation) of evolutionary epistemology rather than the
>"how-to" involved approach.
>The distinction that I would draw between logical consistency and truth -
>rather, I would say truth orientation - would be along the lines of
>representation. Internal logical consistency alone is no guarantor of
>orientation. But placed within a representational context, I would say
>the internally consistent contruction that contains the most and the most
>consistent representations of that context will tend to be more truthfully
>oriented than the construction than contains less and less consistent
>representations of that context - in otherwords a greater degree of
>and/or solipcism.

I agree, The system that represents more in a logically consistent manner
would tend to more likely be true but there is no guarantee, They could be
telling a big lie by ignoring inconsistent facts. The essence of the
Socratic method is that people have trouble remembering a lot of lies and
tend to contradict themselves if their representations are not valid. This
is especially the case when the questionner introduces inconvenient facts
into the conversation in round about ways.

>Non-justificational/pancritical rationalism is best described by the
>"All representations are in principle subject to rational criticism".
>Thus combining elements of consistency (ALL representations including the
>statement itself) and representation - we aren't concerned the internal
>consistency of mere statements and semantic constructions, but their
>representational characteristics.
>It may be well to note, however, that memetics is not so concerned with the
>truth of a cultural replicator, but with the tendency of that replicator to
>be replicated. Truth is only one of many factors that play a role in the
>fitness of a meme, and in many cases memes replicate in spite of their lack
>of truthfulness. Those cases are ones that are of particular interest to
>memetics because of the persistence of such "deceptions". The persistence
>truthful information is not very interesting, but the persistence of
>"untruthful" information is something that memetics might be particularly
>good at explaining.

How about persistence of inconsistent notions? The literature in cognitive
psychology shows that inconsistencies tend to be reconstructed in memory
tests so that they are more logical. People have trouble remembering
inconsistencies. This suggests that inconsistent memes would be less likely
to survive repetition. If untrue memes can survive while inconsistent ones
tend not to survive, does this suggest that consistency is crucial to the
nature of memes?

Bill Chambers

>Principia on Evolutionary Epistemology:
> <A HREF="">Evolutionary Approach to
>Links on Non-Justificational/Pancritical Rationalism:
> <A
>al Rationalism
> <A HREF="">What is
>rationalism (PCR)?
> <A HREF="">Being
>This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
>Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
>For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)