RE: Dawkins' Mutation Test for Replicators

Gatherer, D. (
Mon, 30 Aug 1999 12:21:19 +0200

Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 12:21:19 +0200
From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <>
Subject: RE: Dawkins' Mutation Test for Replicators
To: "''" <>

Thanks for taking the trouble, Derek. But there remains an interesting
technical issue here: if the monkeys learned the behaviour from the
keeper, then they are in some sense capable of imitation.

No, they're not imitating the keeper. It's a Skinnerian reinforcement

OK, so what
they're imitating is not a conspecific, and some persistence on the
keeper's part was probably required, but how exactly do we distinguish
that scenario from meme transmission? Or do we?

Some don't eg. most of the early memeticists like Cavalli-Sforza admit that
they don't really care how behaviours/cultural traits are replicated. But
Sue has her reasons, as listed in her book and JoM article.

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