Re: implied or inferred memes

Bill Spight (
Sun, 12 Sep 1999 09:51:35 -0700

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 09:51:35 -0700
From: Bill Spight <>
Subject: Re: implied or inferred memes

Dear Raymond:


This got me thinking about Susan Blackmore's description of birds that were pecking open bottles of cream. According to her, this was not a meme because the birds did [not] obtain the information by imitating other birds but simply by learning it on their own.

This caused me wonder what we would have called it if the one the things that was necessary for the birds to learn how to peck open cream bottles was observation of other birds pecking things other than cream bottles.


I think we would refer to a meme for pecking in general.


Stated more abstractly, aren't there going to be situations in which we can say that if Meme A and Meme B are transmitted, then Meme C will arise. Meme C is not directly transmitted, but is an indirect consequence of the transmittal of A and B.


It is cleaner to say that C is *not* a meme in such a case. In fact, C is a memetic analog to a phenotypic effect. If A and B were genes, we would say that A and B are genes for C. I think that we can do the same with memes. A and B are memes for C. <s>

Best regards,


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