Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Memes: is an expression by R. Dawkins (R. Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Oxford, 1976) for a particularly fast-spreading shape or content that has emerged in a cultural context. Examples of memes are melodic fragments, linguistic expressions, names, emblems, images. See also genes, evolution, selection, communication.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
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I 307
Mem/Dawkins: Thesis: in view of the great cultural differences, we must free ourselves from the notion that genes are the only foundation of evolution.
((s) Vs: Dawkins refers to Margaret Mead's description of gentle Arapesh Indians, which is disputed today.)
Dawkins's thesis: Darwinism is too powerful a theory to be confined to the narrow framework of the gene. I will include the gene as an analogue in my thesis, no more.
I 308
Mem/Dawkins: For a short time, there has been a new type of replicator on our planet. The new "primordial soup" for its emergence is human culture.
VIII 309
If a thought finds new followers, it multiplies by spreading from one brain to another.
N. K. Humphrey: Memes should be understood as living structures, not only in the transmitted, but also in the technical sense.
Dawkins: Memes are parasites in human brains. For example, the mem for believing in life after death.
Memes are vehicles for their own distribution.
I 313
Mem/Tradition/Replication/Gene/Dawkins: everyone will change the idea a bit by passing it on, and in the rarest of cases use the same vocabulary. Thus, memes do not seem to have the particle characteristic of genes.
I 314
Mem/Dawkins: For example, if part of a melody serves as jingle for a radio station, it deserves the designation Mem.
I 318
Mem/Dawkins: Part of the mem of God is faith which renounces evidence.
Nothing is as deadly to some memes as the search for evidence.
Blind faith is a strong partner for spreading memes: e.g. civil war, religious hatred, retaliation, mutually reinforcing unscrupulousness.
I 320
Gene/Heredity/Dawkins: Queen Elizabeth II is a direct descendant of William the Conqueror. But it is quite likely that she does not carry a single gene from him.
Mem/Dawkins: On the other hand, many memes of Socrates still exist. And unweakened at that! Perhaps one or two genes as well, but who is interested in the genes in this context?
Memes spread, because it is useful for them!
I 320
Nothing else is needed for that than brains capable of imitating. Then memes will be formed, which will exploit this ability to the utmost.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Da I
R. Dawkins
Das egoistische Gen, Hamburg 1996

Da II
M. St. Dawkins
Die Entdeckung des tierischen Bewusstseins Hamburg 1993


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-10-17