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On Modelling in Memetics - Bruce Edmonds

7 Conclusion

The complexity of social interaction and the difficulty in directly falsifying memetic models means that unless we apply strong selection criteria the field of memetics will be swamped by the forces of variation and hence not successfully evolve. As a result of this memetics as a field may well lose the race to others in academia and society. For this reason the application of stringent selection processes (that are relevant to the survival of the field as opposed to relevant to only the survival of academics and their constructs) is vital.

This can be done in a number of ways:

  1. (Use of formal models) insisting on formal or computational models to pin down the meaning of our theories. This makes the relationships between our theories easier to assess since the formal models will help specify the reference of terms in an unambiguous way;

  2. (Validation) make clear the assumptions behind our models in terms of the modelling language, validating theories, modelling goals etc.;

  3. (Verification) explicitly state how we are verifying our model, including: how we have selected the model or information to verify against and the precise method of this verification;

  4. (Other criteria) in addition to the above, argue for our models in terms of additional criteria such as: simplicity; ease of computation of predictions; etc.

  5. (Domains) initially choosing domains where the meaning of our models are clear - i.e. a concentration of phenomena where the identity of memes is transparent due to the clear mapping between their forms and their content (e.g. birdsong, tunes, legal phrases in contracts, nursery rhymes) and treating examples concerning high-level constructs (e.g. religion, history, organisational behaviour) with great care.

On Modelling in Memetics - Bruce Edmonds - 18 AUG 98
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