Teksty z Ulicy. Zeszyt memetyczny nr 17/2016

T h e o r i e s
Dobrosława Wężowicz-Ziółkowska
Culture – genes – memes. Static and dynamic models of relations


Summary

The article presents the static and the dynamic models of relations between genes, memes and culture. The static model reflects three phases of pre-scientific and scientific thinking about relations between the components, showing that in Phase I (between 5th century BC and the beginning of the 20th century) the influence was thought to be only in one direction, from genes to culture. An extreme case of such thinking was the idea of eugenics. Phase II was a period of dominance of the Standard Social Science Model which treats culture independently from biology. In this phase genes and culture are disjoint sets. Development of Neo-Darwinism and the so-called New Synthesis brought these two components together, outlining the third phase of their relations. Phase III brings the discovery of meme and of another sphere of life evolving on Earth - infosphere. The author distinguishes two kinds of information: genetic and non-genetic (protocultures, cultures and cybercultures). The dynamic relations between them are presented through the analyses of Darwinian and non-Darwinian theories of evolution (including Lamarckism, Epigenetics and the idea of the Morphic Resonance developed by Rupert Sheldrake). The main thesis of the article is that understanding of the relations between the components of the model requires chaos theory, emergence and phase plane. It advocates a search for attractors of cultural and non-cultural information as recognizable basins of attraction, generating the dynamics of the forces of evolution.


Keywords
genes, memes, culture, memory, Lamarckian inheritence, Epigenetic inheritence, Morphic Resonance
Wojciech Borkowski
Memes – systemic reinterpretation


Summary

Memetics was born at a time when the theory of complex systems also only arose. Necessarily, it relied on too simple and too metaphorical analogies between biology and culture. Unfortunately, this methodological weakness caused its collapse. Many researchers interested in it, representing science, have moved their attention just to complex systems and their more specialized branches like computational sociology and neuroscience. After 40 years since the creation of the term meme, when both the theory of complex systems and neurocognition science made great progress, it came time to include their achievements in the scope of memetics and to start to use their research methods. Author is trying to make a first step, proposing both systemic and neuroscientific redefining of term „meme”, as well as reinterpreting culture as a “software of the mind”.


Keywords
memetics, meme, complex system
Andrzej Stępnik
Memetics’ contribution to knowledge about a particular culture. Methodological aspects of memetics


Summary

The article is an attempt to formulate the methodological basis of memetics and show some problems connected with it. I begin with presenting evolutionary psychology’s main research strategies and its methodological problems. I put forward Popper’s conception of adaptation as a form of knowledge about the environment. Next I translated it into the field of memetics and I present four research strategies: two general and two specific. And finally I establish some directions for memetics as a general and multidisciplinary theory of culture.


Keywords
memetics, methodology, evolutionism, evolutionary psychology, philosophy of science
Anna Kowalska
Memetics and cultural anthropology. Reconaissance


Summary

The article attempts to present the most distinct instances of ideas about culture and humanity in culture anthropology, which are kernel of memetics. One of the main problems in all of these sciences is human’s status. When researchers think about a human in a specific way, it determines their thinking about culture and also their research problems, thesis and hypothesis and results of their work.


Keywords
memetics, anthropology of culture, methodology, theory of culture
Kinga Kowalczyk-Purol
Meme’s struggle for existence. The case of the category mistake in memetics


Summary

Memetics is simultaneously a very promising and controversial perspective. Its flagship and the best acknowledged idea is the “selfish meme” concept. This concept claims that there are units of cultural evolution (memes) whose main aim is to, analogously to Dawkins’ selfish genes, maximize their replication, i.e. memes have fitness interests of their own. However, opponents of memetics indicate some problematic issues. One of the numerous problems of memetics is the so-called boundary problem. This problem pertains to the ontological question of the meme’s delimitation. The paper discusses one of the variations of this problem, namely a category mistake which occurs in the works of well known memeticists, e.g. R. Dawkins, D. C. Dennett and S. Blackmore. Surprisingly, those famous advocates of the memetic standpoint, as the paper shows, confuse propositional attitudes and propositional contents in their attempts to demarcate the meme concept.


Keywords
memetics, category mistake, propositional attitudes and contents, Mary Midgley
P r a c t i c e s
Elżbieta Kwade
Trends, furniture and memes. Fluctuations of memes and fashion systems in culture (an outline)


Summary

In dem vorliegenden Artikel erfolgt die Thematisierung des Wandels von diversen Modearten. Er wird von der Idee getragen, dass Mode kein eigenständiges System ist, sondern als Phänomen vielfältig mit einem bestimmten Zeitraum (einer bestimmten Ideosphäre) in enger Verflechtung bleibt und mit diesem sich als Teilsystem entwickelt . Mit der Hilfe des memetischen Analyseinstrumentariums wie u.a. Mem, Soziotyp verfolgt man das dominierende Vorwärtskommen von spezifischen Memen innerhalb einer eingeführten Periodisierung der Nachkriegszeit. Zugunsten der gestellten Hypothese argumentiert man weiter, dass die Mode ein offenes Kommunikationssubsystem ist, das mit mehreren Bereichen (anderen Subsystemen) des sozialen Lebens eng verbunden ist und sich als solches von dem Inhalt eines bestimmten Mempools in einem bestimmten Zeitraum abhängig macht. Weiterhin befasst sich der Artikel mit den Ursachen des Phänomens „Retro“ in der Mode, die man gegenwärtig als eine notwendige Erinnerung an vergangene Generationen interpretiert und damit belegt, dass die erwähnte Erscheinung die Aktivierung von Re-Memen zur Ursache hat.


Keywords
Mode, Möbel, Kultursystem, Ideosphäre / Cybersphäre, Retro-Mem, Vererbung
Antonina Szybowska
Hair. The cultural representations of naked ape’s coat


Summary

The theme of this discussion on human hair is the relationship between the biological and cultural evolution. Hair - part of our biological equipment, a visible sign of transformation of our body, also constitutes an element which is significant in the evolution of culture. It is that biology creates ruts, then populated by the cultural content? Or maybe they define its own independent path? There is no doubt that the hair, especially that on the head, but also other parts of the body is one of the strongest distinguishing features of our species, their method of treatment is an important element of shaping individual identity as well as cultural one.


Keywords
hair, coat, evolution, cultural adaptation
Adam Bodzioch, Dobrosława Wężowicz-Ziółkowska
Resurrection of the Wawel Dragon. A voice on the memetic evolution and the defense of inviolability of proper names


Summary

The Wawel Dragon is one of the cultural symbols not only of Kraków but of the entire Poland. It has been brought up in literature as a fact, both historical and natural, for the first time by Wincenty Kadłubek (Historia Polonica, 12th century). In 19th century scientific investigations pushed it into the world of legends. Later on it became an inspiration in various fields of art, but in 2010 it surprisingly came back into the field of science as a new species of dinosaurs, Smok wawelski. On the one hand, this use of a pre-existing proper name to define a species of a fossil animal violates rules generally accepted in science, on the other, it is a very interesting phenomenon from the perspective of memetic evolution. This paper explains pathways of replication, durability and driving force of the Wawel Dragon meme and its return from a legendary to scientific existence. The authors present a thesis that thanks to semantic confusion (which is enough to blur the line between reality and fiction), this meme enabled itself a worldwide expansion, both in geographical and social terms


Keywords
Wawel Dragon, taxonomy, dinosaurs, memetic evolution
Andrzej Stępnik
Dynamics of violence in the context of biological and memetic factors


Summary

The article focuses on Steven Pinker’s thesis that we can observe in mankind history the tendency to reduce violence. In this context I present biological and cultural factors which play major role in origin of violence, and I show complicated relations between them. Next I examine the possibility for keeping this tendency in the future. Additionally I discuss the notion of violence and its kinds, and I show how we should write about violence, and how we should not.


Keywords
violence, aggression, dynamics of violence, genes, memes
R e v i e w s,  p o l e m i c s,  o p i n i o n s
Justyna Tymieniecka-Suchanek
Behind the genes, behind the culture. Telepathic communication of the animals A few comments about Rupert Sheldrake’s book

Dobrosława Wężowicz-Ziółkowska
Angels and demons or the incantation of reality

Stanisław Masłowski
Reality. Complementum Possibilitatis?

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