Re: virus: Memes and other replicators

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Thu, 26 Jun 1997 18:44:55 -0700 (PDT)

I'll have to reread Richard's post a couple more times, since I know I
still have fuzzy places in my mind regarding the differences between memes
and other kinds of replicators. But I wanted to comment on one part of it

On Thu, 26 Jun 1997, Richard Brodie wrote:

> Any attempt to explain all of culture by looking at meme replication is
> doomed to failure. Bloom's superorganisms and Dawkins's mind viruses
> are indeed cultural replicators that evolve to promote their own
> survival and spread. Perhaps "memetics", if it implies that memes are
> the be-all and end-all, is a poor name for our science after all.

But it doesn't. Any more than any other science or philosophy assumes by
its mere existence that it covers all possibilities for understanding.
Well, maybe some hard-line reductionist physicists do....But in the main,
fields cover certain aspects of reality. Are you suggesting that
what we're calling "memetics" does or should cover other cultural
replicators besides memes, or are you just noting that there are some?
At any rate, cultural replicators that are not themselves memes, if I
understand you correctly about what sorts of things those are, are either
made up of memes or supported in their replication by memes, so are
readily includable under a "memetics" heading, in those aspects of

who should write cover letters but thinks she'll go play NetHack instead