The Selfish Meme: A Critical Reassessment
Culture is a unique and fascinating aspect of the human species. How did it emerge and how does it develop? Richard Dawkins has suggested that culture evolves and that memes are the cultural replicators, subject to variation and selection in the same way as genes function in the biological world. In this sense human culture is the product of a mindless evolutionary algorithm. Does this imply that we are mere meme machines and that the conscious self is an illusion? Kate Distin extends and strengthens Dawkins's theory and presents a fully developed and workable concept of cultural DNA. She argues that culture's development can be seen both as the result of memetic evolution and as the product of human creativity. Memetic evolution is therefore compatible with the view of humans as conscious and intelligent.
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The Meme Hypothesis
The Replication of Complex Culture
The Story So Far
The Human Mind Meme Complex with a Virus?
The Memes Eye View
Early Cultural Evolution
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ability able abstract acquire alleles amongst artefacts Aunger behaviour beliefs biological Blackmore blue tit brain chapter claim concept copy cultural evolution cultural information cultural replication Dan Sperber Dawkins Dawkins's Dennett depends determined elements emergence environment evolutionary evolutionary algorithm evolved example existing memes extended phenotype external fact genes genetic human culture human mind Ibid ideas imitation individual innate instance interaction involved language acquisition device learning means meme complex meme hypothesis meme pool meme theory meme's memetic evolution memetic replication mental meta-represent meta-representation mutation natural languages natural selection Nonetheless novel organisms particular phenotypic effects possible potential produce question recombination relevant properties religion represent representational content result Richard Dawkins Richerson Robert Aunger role sbt's significant simply sort species Sperber stimulus structure success survival machines Susan Blackmore tion transmission universal grammar variation vehicles viruses words