Re: virus: Angelica de Meme

Dave Pape (
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 23:44:02 +0100 (BST)

At 12:29 09/04/97 +0100, Robin wrote:

>Science doesn't know what "conscious" means.

Right, I'm not doing this to piss Robin off, I'm doing it cos I want to have
a think about the memetic processes involved in a group of people not
knowing something. I kind of agree with Robin; I do however believe that
science is making inroads into understanding consciousness phenomena- I've
got enough faith in some of science's reductionist viewpoints about
consciousness to believe there's nothing mystical about it, f'rinstance.

"Science doesn't know what 'x' means"

"Science" I think means "the community of all scientists".

I think, then, that for Science to know what 'x' means, is for the
linguistic input of the /word/ x to give rise to activation/expression of
very similar ecological groups of memes in the heads of all scientists.

One person "knows what 'x' means" when, given the linguistic input of word
x, a stable and strong group of ideas emerge from the cognitive processing
in their brain.

One person "doesn't know what 'x' means" when that linguistic input gives
rise to unstable and conflicting groups of ideas. A group "doesn't know what
'x' means" when linguistic input of word x causes a lot of disagreement-
emergence of conflicting ideas/memes within that group.

Phrased in this way, Science "knows" - /absolutely/ "knows"- not very much,
because most things are understood differently by different people.

So I guess you have to posit Relative Knowing. I'd agree, then, that Science
only "knows what 'consciousness' is" a little bit, in that there's still
loads of competition between conflicting memes whenever the word
"consciousness" impinges on a group of Scientist heads. But Science doesn't
have Zero knowledge of what consciousness is... because there are loose
pockets of concensus out there. Kind of.

Dave Pape
Always bet on the guy with the spine.

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