MEMETICS: New online journal Vol.1 abstracts

Mark Crosby (
Wed, 18 Jun 1997 13:33:19 -0700 (PDT)

Some may find this interesting, especially in light of the recent
'cultural dominants' thread - Mark Crosby

Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission

Volume 1 - May 1997 Articles and Abstracts

The Six Essentials? Minimal Requirements for the Darwinian
Bootstrapping of Quality by William H. Calvin (40Kb)

Selectionism emphasizes carving patterns, memes remind us of minimal
replicable patterns, but a full-fledged Darwinian process needs six
essential ingredients to keep going, to recursively bootstrap quality
from rude beginnings. While there may be situations ("sparse
Darwinism") in which a reduced number suffice, another five
ingredients, while not essential, greatly enhance the speed and
stability of a Darwinian process. While our best examples are drawn
from species evolution, the immune response, and evolutionary
epistemology, the Darwinian process may well be a major law of the
universe, right up there with chemical bonds as a prime generator of
interesting combinations that discover stratified stabilities.

Cultural r/k Selection by Agner Fog (56Kb)

A new model of cultural r/k-selection is introduced. This model, which
provides a classification of cultural processes based on the factors
that influence memetic fitness rather than on selection mechanisms,
predicts that cultural evolution will go in different ways depending
on the balance between internal and external conflicts of a society. A
society dominated by external conflicts or war will evolve in a
direction called regal, whereas a society in a peaceful or sparsely
populated area will evolve in the opposite direction, called kalyptic.
The regal or kalyptic characteristics of a society influence the
evolution in many areas of culture, including religion, political
structure, art, music, etc.

The Origin and Evolution of Culture and Creativity by Liane Gabora

Like the information patterns that evolve through biological
processes, mental representations, or memes, evolve through adaptive
exploration and transformation of an information space through
variation, selection, and transmission. Since unlike genes, memes do
not come packaged with instructions for their replication, our brains
do it for them, strategically, guided by a fitness landscape that
reflects both internal drives and a worldview that is continually
updated through meme assimilation. This paper presents a model for how
an individual becomes a meme-evolving agent via the emergence of an
autocatalytic network of sparse, distributed memories, and discusses
implications for complex, creative thought processes and why they are
unique to humans. Memetics can do more than account for the spread of
catchy tunes; it can pave the way for the kind of overarching
framework for the humanities that the first form of evolution has
provided for the biological sciences.

Macromemetics: Towards a Framework for the Re-unification of
Philosophy by Derek Gatherer (66Kb)

The review of the philosophical and scientific antecedents of memetics
by Elan Moritz [27] is extended to cover 20th century philosophy. It
is proposed that `macromemetics', ie. the study of the evolution of
entire meme pools, is in many respects a similar enterprise to that
attempted by the cultural evolutionist school of anthropology which
flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Memetics may
provide a new, and more rigorously Darwinian, slant to this rather
neglected branch of anthropology. Furthermore, it is proposed that
much of the terminology and conceptual apparatus of memetics may be
reconciled with that used by recent Continental philosophers in their
studies of culture, thus suggesting a possible Darwinian framework for
the re-unification of Western philosophy.

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