Macromemetics

Macromemetics

Abstract
1. Introduction and Summary
2. Western Philosophy Divided
3. The Hierarchical Structure of the Meme Pool and Popper"s World 3
3.1 Meme pools and the total cultural apparatus of societies
4. The Cultural Evolutionary School of Social Anthropology
4.1 Evolutionary Analysis of Civilisations
5. Memetics and 20th Century Philosophy
5.1 Memes and Pragmatism
5.2 Popper and Evolutionary Epistemology
5.3 Saussure and Signifiers
5.4 Foucault and the Episteme
6. Conclusion: The Role of Memetics
References

Dawkins [9] acknowledges his indebtedness to Popper, and to Cloak [7], for paving the way to the meme concept. Memetics thus has both philosophical and anthropological precedents. On the philosophical side, Popper’s World 3 is populated with many elements which might be described as memes. Cloak comes from the anthropological tradition, and much 19th and early 20th century anthropology had a strong evolutionary component. Dawkins’ real contribution can be seen as the fusion of cultural evolutionism with a reductionist approach derived from the gene selectionist school of evolutionary biology. Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman’s `culturgens‘ [6] and perhaps even White’s `symbolants‘ [47], were partial anticipations of this approach. Saussure’s work on `signifiers‘ stemmed from his early research in the evolution of languages. 20th century structuralist philosophy thus has its roots in evolutionary theory. The emphasis that Structuralists place on discontinuous change and an opposition to metanarratives, has led some of the proponents of Structuralism to insist that it is incompatible with Darwinian evolution. However, now that it is appreciated that discontinuous changes eg. saltations, may occasionally appear in biological evolution, the incompatibility no longer applies. One of Anglo-American philosophy’s most flourishing branches is Evolutionary Epistemology, which also derives from Popper’s Darwinian approach to the themes of consciousness and the history of ideas. Memetics thus represents a possible framework for the reconciliation of the two main branches of Western philosophy.

AuthorDerek Gatherer
2018-08-21T17:23:37+00:00 August 1st, 2002|Categories: Literature, Essays, Blesok no. 27|0 Comments