Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science

Hardcover | January 15, 2001

EditorRobert Aunger

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The publication in 1998 of Susan Blackmore's bestselling 'The meme machine' re-awakened the debate over the highly controverial field of memetics. In the past couple of years, there has been an explosion of interest in 'memes'. The one thing noticably missing though, has been any kind ofproper debate over the validity of a concept regarded by many as scientifically suspect. Darwinizing culture: the status of memetics as a science pits leading intellectuals, (both supporters and opponents of meme theory), against eachother to battle it out, and state their case. With a foreword byDaniel Dennett, and contributions from Dan Sperber, David Hull, Robert Boyd, Susan Blackmore, Henry Plotkin, and others, the result is a thrilling and challenging debate that will perhaps mark a turning point for the field, and for future research. Superbly edited by Robert Aunger, Darwinizingculture is a thought provoking book, that will fascinate, stimulate, (and occasionally perhaps infuriate) a broad range of readers including, psychologists, biologists, philosophers, linguists, and anthropologists.

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From the Publisher

The publication in 1998 of Susan Blackmore's bestselling 'The meme machine' re-awakened the debate over the highly controverial field of memetics. In the past couple of years, there has been an explosion of interest in 'memes'. The one thing noticably missing though, has been any kind ofproper debate over the validity of a concept rega...

Dr Robert Aunger completed his PhD in Anthopology at UCLA. He has taught at Nortwestern University, The University of Chicago, as well as Cambridge University. He has recently signed with Free Press (via agent John Brockman) to write a trade book entitled 'The Electric Meme)

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Format:HardcoverPublished:January 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0192632442

ISBN - 13:9780192632449

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Daniel DennettIntroduction'Memes' eye vision (Susan Blackmore)Taking memetics seriously (David Hull)Memes through (social) minds (Rosaria Conte)Culture and psychological mechanism (Henry Plotkin)The evolution of the meme (Kevin Laland and John Odling-Smee)Memes: University acid or a better mouse trap (Robert Boyd and Peter Richerson)An objection to the memetic approach to culture (Dan Sperber)If memes are the answer, what is the question (Adam Kuper)A well-disposed social anthropologist's problem with memes (Maurice Bloch)Conclusion (Robert Aunger)

Editorial Reviews

"Blackmore's theory needed development and criticism. It has now got that in spades in Aunger's book from a panel of expert anthropologists, psychologists and evoltionary biologists who tend to be sceptical if not scathing. Watching these specialists debate a genuinely provocative idea if itis rather too simple to be true, makes for brain- stretching fun." Weekend Australian