Darwinian Creativity and Memetics

Acumen (2011)
The book examines how Darwinism has been used to explain novelty and change in culture through the Darwinian approach to creativity and the theory of memes. The first claims that creativity is based on a Darwinian process of blind variation and selection, while the latter claims that culture is based on and explained by units - memes - that are similar to genes. Both theories try to describe and explain mind and culture by applying Darwinism by way of analogies. Kronfeldner shows that the analogies involved in these theories lead to claims that give either wrong or at least no new descriptions or explanations of the phenomena at issue. Whereas the two approaches are usually defended or criticized on the basis that they are dangerous for our vision of ourselves, this book takes a different perspective: it questions the acuteness of these approaches. Darwinian theory is not like a dangerous wolf, hunting for our self image. Far from it, in the case of the two analogical applications addressed in this book, Darwinian theory is shown to behave more like a disoriented sheep in wolf's clothing. - A revised and much shortened version of a dissertation (2007, Darwinism, Memes and Creativity: A Critique of Analogical Reasoning from Nature to Culture).
Keywords Darwinism  Culture  Creativity  Analogies  Cultural Evolution  Memes
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ISBN(s) 1844652564   9781315729107
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Matt Gers (2008). The Case for Memes. Biological Theory 3 (4):305-315.
Maria Kronfeldner (2010). Won't You Please Unite? Darwinism, Cultural Evolution and Kinds of Synthesis. In A. Barahona, H.-J. Rheinberger & E. Suarez-Diaz (eds.), The Hereditary Hourglass: Genetics and Epigenetics, 1868-2000. Max Planck Insititute for the History of Science 111-125.
Susan Blackmore (2006). Why We Need Memetics. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):349-350.

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