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May 31, 2016

Time: 1500-1800h (Tuesday May 31)
Location: Room 5A-23, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden (Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen).

We shall return to the question of evolution and in particular the concept of meme. Memes just got another lease on life after the original meaning:

a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition and replication in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.

there is now:

a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.

If you are not familiar with Dawkins’ coining of the concept you may want to read https://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/dennett/papers/newreplicators.pdf

And for this occasion I suggest we read Benzon’s article (which, by the way, is rather critical about Dennett’s approach):

https://www.academia.edu/4204175/Cultural_Evolution_Memes_and_the_Trouble_with_Dan_Dennett

Memetics is controversial, evolution is not a favourite in the humanities, Benzon is a dubious character, and all that may help us to clarify matters through sharp debate!

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