Memetics: Memes and the Science of Cultural Evolution
Memetics is the name commonly given to the study of memes - a term originally coined by Richard Dawkins to describe small inherited elements of human culture. Memes are the cultural equivalent of DNA genes - and memetics is the cultural equivalent of genetics.
Memes have become ubiquitous in the modern world - but there has been relatively little proper scientific study of how they arise, spread and change - apparently due to turf wars within the social sciences and misguided resistance to Darwinian explanations being applied to human behaviour.
However, with the modern explosion of internet memes, I think this is bound to change. With memes penetrating into every mass media channel, and with major companies riding on their coat tails for marketing purposes, social scientists will surely not be able to keep the subject at arm's length for much longer.
This will be good - because an understanding of memes is important. Memes are important for marketing and advertising. They are important for defending against marketing and advertising. They are important for understanding and managing your own mind. They are important for understanding science, politics, religion, causes, propaganda and popular culture.
Memetics is important for understanding the origin and evolution of modern humans. It provides insight into the rise of farming, science, industry, technology and machines. It is important for understanding the future of technological change and human evolution.
This book covers the basic concepts of memetics, giving an overview of its history, development, applications and the controversy that has been associated with it.
What people are saying - Write a review
Introduction A brief guide to this book
Basics Cultural evolution in a nutshell
Evidence Support for cultural evolution 18 4 Defining evolution What evolution means
Similarities Between organic and cultural 29 6 Differences Between cultural and organic 34 7 Memes Terminology for cultural evolution 39 8 Coe...
Replicators Replicator terminology problems
Scientific perspective Views from academia
Criticism Skeptics and naysayers
Controversies Outstanding issues
Applications What memetics is for
Origins The origin of culture
Major transitions Seismic memetic shifts
Immunity Resistance to infection
The internet Recent developments 218 24 Classification Category distinctions 227 25 Mental selection The Darwinian mind
Memetic algorithms Optimising with memes
History Of the study of cultural evolution 240 28 Generalised Darwinism Basic principles 250 29 Evolution revolution The changes needed 258 30...