RE: Memetic/Ontological correspondence?

Aaron Agassi (
Fri, 2 Jul 1999 12:18:53 -0400

From: "Aaron Agassi" <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: Memetic/Ontological correspondence?
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 12:18:53 -0400
In-Reply-To: <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of
> Sent: Friday, July 02, 1999 9:54 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Memetic/Ontological correspondence?
> In a message dated 7/1/99 6:34:58 PM Central Daylight Time,
> writes:
> >> Specifically, can human ambivalence find correspondence to Quantum
> Mechanics? I doubt it. Because, Heisenberg Uncertainty is probabilistic,
> while human ambivalence is agenda driven.<<
> I share your doubt. While QM is very intriguing, the tendency to become
> almost religious in attempts to apply it every potentially
> spiritual question
> reflects the shortcomings of some of the reductionistic programs
> that still
> currently drive western thought. Dennet in DDI has some good thoughts on
> reductionism, both recognizing it as a valuable tool, and also
> identifying
> the problems of getting too ideological about it ("greedy
> reductionism").
> Though I question Dennet's success in actually escaping that ideology
> himself, he does lay the foundation for a much more realistic emergent
> materialism.
> Within a paradigm of emergent materialism, it becomes much more
> tenuous to
> suggest that things like human ambivalence are in any intimate
> way related to
> QM, and HUP. Ideas like that are mirages of greedy reductionism.
> Emergent
> materialism would also demand that we reconsider "mirage"
> evaluations that
> greedy reductionism has made of more emergent phenomenon -- like claiming
> that self is not real -- it is "merely an illusion." Dennet still
> philosophically struggles through issues like that -- and his
> psychological
> protege, Blackmore, makes the illusory-self an article of faith.
> As to your concerns about logic -- which I would more broadly
> talk about in
> terms of rationality. It is not an idea itself, rather it is a
> description
> of the property of our conceptual systems. It is a conceptual attribute
> rather than a neurological attribute (once again the greedy reductionism
> slips in to cause some to attribute it to neurology).
> Correspondence to reality (whatever we take "reality" to mean) is not the
> sole guiding function of our conceptual systems. More importantly, our
> conceptual systems are necessarily embodied, and as such function
> to exercise
> control over our environment for our benefit. That is important
> -- things
> that fail to function, fail to survive. While some
> correspondence to reality
> is necessary to exercising control, exercising control over reality and
> corresponding to reality are not entirely compatible goals.
Surely, as the old saying goes, knowledge is power, not impotemce!

> What emerges are correspondences (recognizing them as matters of degree
> rather than necessarily dichotomous true/false status) that are mutually
> coherent and consistent, and those that are not, fail to be
> favored and tend
> to be selected out. Incoherent and inconsistent correspondences are of
> little use to an embodied conceptual system regardless of their degree of
> correspondence, and so we naturally favor rationality.
And so, hypothetically, if and in so far the Universe incoherent and
inconsistent, reality might elude the observer. That sounds rather silly,
doesn't it? In fact, sometimes real data gets mistakenly flittered out as
static, because it doesn't seem to fit. And we can disbelieve what does not
tend to fit. And it might be crucial. That is a classic motif in detective
novels. Still, the survival goal searches, rationally, to build a simulation
that corresponds to reality, in order to better function and survive. Okay,
it ain't Pure Research. But what of it?

> Likewise, as a result, our conceptual system will be as much
> metaphorical as
> it is definitional. That's good, because it is one indication that our
> conceptual system is functioning more or less ideally -- using
> correspondence
> in the pursuit of control, not just pursuing correspondence to
> the detriment
> of exercising control. It's much more simple and yet profound
> than a mere
> neurological itch.
Sounds like good Methodology to me. Is there a problem?

> It's good to see somebody in intense philosophical mode on this
> list, Aaron.
> There is nothing naive about that. Though that at times may seem
> to irritate
> some of the regular and even some of the published memeticists
> here -- they
> really need that. Whether we like it or not, memetics has not
> yet escaped
> the territory of the Philosophy Kingdom,
Philosophy, especially Methodology, is to Science as Algebra is to

>and so bringing up these more
> fundamentally philosophical issues remains not only important,
> but *crucial*
> - as annoying as the reminder may be for those who long to
> journey into the
> Empirical Empire. At least they can take refuge in a peer
> reviewed journal,
> as opposed to something like the "Grinning Idiot Press". Now if
> some more
> luminary personalities would just acknowlege that this journal actually
> exists!
> -JS
> ===============================================================
> 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)
> see:

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)