Chapter

A well-disposed social anthropologist’s problems with memes

Maurice Bloch

in Darwinizing Culture

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780192632449
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670473 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192632449.003.0010
A well-disposed social anthropologist’s problems with memes

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This chapter tries to show what some of the failures in co-operation between natural and social scientists are, in order to illustrate why memes, as they are presented, will not do. However, it aims to further the kind of dialogue initiated, or reinitiated by Dawkins, so that this type of general enterprise, will, at a future date, be more successful. It is shown that emphasizing the many dramatic implications of the fact that the evolution of the human brain has meant that information can replicate, persist and transform by means other than DNA, is very valuable. It also discusses at length the criticisms which American and British anthropologists have, in the past, directed against the theories of the memeticists' predecessors: the diffusionists. It also attempts to clear the decks for the very enterprise which Dawkins and Dennett propose.

Keywords: memes; social anthropologist; Dawkins; Dennett; human brain

Chapter.  5853 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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