In Robert Aunger (ed.), Darwinizing Culture. pp. 162–73 (2001)

Dan Sperber
Institut Jean Nicod
This chapter determines a major empirical hurdle for any future discipline of memetics. It mainly shows that one can find very similar copies of some cultural item, link these copies through a causal chain of events which faithfully reproduced those items, and nevertheless not have an example of memetic inheritance. In addition, the stability of cultural patterns is proof that fidelity in copying is high despite individual variations. It is also believed that what is offered as an explanation is precisely what needs to be explained; what is offered as a solution is in fact the very problem to be solved. Moreover, the issue is whether the relative stability observed in cultural transmission is proof of replication. The example of the acquisition of language is briefly addressed. The Darwinian model of selection is informative, and in various ways, for thinking about culture. Imitation is of course well worth investigating. On the other hand, the grand project of memetics is misled.
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DOI 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192632449.003.0008
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Cultural Evolution.Tim Lewens - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Seedless Grapes: Nature and Culture.Dan Sperber - 2007 - In Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.), Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representaion. Oxford University Press. pp. 124--137.
What Are Cultural Attractors?Andrew Buskell - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (3):377-394.

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